Friday, 1 November 2013


ISBN-13: 978-0-283-99750-1
Writer: Steve Humphries
Title: A Secret World of Sex
Subtitle: Forbidden Fruit: The British Experience 1900-1950
Language: English
Place of Publication: London
Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson Limited
Year of Publication: 1991
Format: 188x242mm (trimmed)
Pages: 224; Further Reading, 219; Index, 222
Illustrations: 87 monochrome plates and pictures
Cover Design: Stephen Kent
Cover Photograph: Hulton-Deutsch Collection
Binding: paperback in duotone printed wrappers
Original Price: GBP 11.99
Weight: 716gr.
Entry No.: 2013043
Entry Date: 1st November 2013


In this compelling book, lavishly illustrated with rare photographs, Steve Humphries tells the extraordinary story of sex before marriage in Britain during the first half of our century. Based on many surprisingly frank interviews with old people, and studded throughout with moving extracts from their life stories, it is the first major investigation into the sexual experiences of young lovers of the past.

Most sex took place in an atmosphere of ignorance, guilt and fear, and became submerged in a secret world. For many, the sexual taboo had damaging or disastrous consequences. Anxiety and frustration about sex were perennial problems, expecially amongst courtign couples; while young gays were forced to lead a double life. Sexual ignorance resulted in many unwanted pregnancies, which in turn led to a thriving trade for back street abortionists and a stream of shotgun weddings. The greatest tragedy often befell the unmarried mother. She was beckoned by the workhouse, or even the mental hospital
not by the welfare state as today. The author rescues the stories of victims like these, along with a host of others, from obscurity and oblivion.

This book breaks new ground in bringing to light an important and controversial chapter in British social history.

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