Conjugal Lewdness

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Daniel Defoe

The full original title of this 1727 essay by Daniel Defoe was "Conjugal Lewdness or, Matrimonial Whoredom", though he was later asked to rename it for the sake of propriety. The modified title became "A Treatise Concerning the Use and Abuse of the Marriage Bed". The essay dealt primarily with contraception, comparing it directly with infanticide. Defoe accomplished this through anecdotes, such as a conversation between two women in which the right-minded chides the other for asking for "recipes" that might prevent pregnancy. In the essay, he further referred to contraception as "the diabolical practice of attempting to prevent childbearing by physical preparations."[1]


  • A treatise concerning the use and abuse of the marriage bed: shewing I. The nature of matrimony, its sacred original, and the true meaning of its institution. II. The gross abuse of matrimonial chastity, from the wrong notions which have possessed the world, degenerating even to whoredom. III. The diabolical practice of attempting to prevent child-bearing by physical preparations. ... VI. How married persons may be guilty of conjugal lewdness, and that a man may, in effect, make a whore of his own wife. Also, many other particulars of family concern. London: Printed for T. Warner, at the Black Boy in Pater-Noster-Row. 1727. OCLC 228749062.


  1. ^ Shorto, Russell (2006-05-07). "Contra-Contraception". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-30.

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