Forbidden Books: Married Love or Love in Marriage


The truly monogamic couple, where the man and the woman go chaste to the marriage-bed, and go through life in mutual love and respect, these feelings growing stronger as the years go by, finding full satisfaction in each other, without any desire for any other man or woman – what nobler, what more appealing ideal can one conjure up? Nor is it an utterly unrealizable ideal, for in spite of the sneers of the cynics, there are such couples, even at the present time and even in our largest Babylons. . . .

We cannot prevent the cynics from sneering, but even they must admit that monogamy is here, is the dominant system, is the only socially approved and legally permitted system, and we have to deal with it. And those radical sexologists who do not believe that monogamy is the best system of sexual relationship, who are sure that it will not survive for all eternity, that it will be replaced in the future by a higher adjustment, will agree, even if they do so reluctantly, that for a few years to come – say five hundred to a thousand – it will be the only feasible, the only socially admissible and legally sanctioned system.

This being the case, it becomes the sexologist’s most sacred duty to do everything in his power to make the monogamic relationship as pleasant as possible, to remove as far as possible all removable causes of friction, to steer the frail matrimonial bark in safe channels, to guard it from being wrecked on the Scylla of asceticism or the Charybdis of excess; in short to help the Man and the Woman to go through life in mutual love and respect, finding full satisfaction in each other, without any desire for any other man or woman.

This is the object of Dr. Stopes’ fine book. It would be too soon to expect any one work to succeed in converting every home from the hell that it often is into the paradise that it should be; but if a careful reading of it preserves the temper of some men, improves the health and cures the insomnia of some women, if it saves a few homes from disruption, it will be decidedly worth while, and its author will be called blessed – and will deserve to be.

There is plenty of love outside of marriage; there is not enough in marriage; and they who labor to augment and intensify Love in Marriage are doing good pro-social work.


April 8, 1918.

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Married Love or Love in Marriage is a book written by Dr. Marie Carmichael Stopes, first published in March 1918 by a small publisher, after many other larger publishers turned her down because of the content. It rapidly sold out, and was in its sixth printing within a fortnight.

The US Customs Service banned the book as obscene until April 6, 1931, when Judge John M. Woolsey overturned that decision. Woolsey is the same judge who in 1933 would lift the ban on James Joyce‘s Ulysses, allowing for its publication and circulation in the United States of America.

The book argued that marriage should be an equal relationship between partners. Although officially scorned in the UK, the book went through 19 editions and sales of almost 750,000 copies by 1931.

In 1935 a survey of American academics said Married Love was one of the 25 most influential books of the previous 50 years, ahead of Relativity by Albert Einstein, Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud, Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler and The Economic Consequences of the Peace by John Maynard Keynes.

(from Wikipedia)