Married Love

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Married Love
Love in Marriage
Married Love Cover.jpg
Author Marie Carmichael Stopes
Country United Kingdom; United States
Language English
Publisher The Critic and Guide Company
Publication date

Married Love or Love in Marriage is a book by British academic Marie Stopes, first published in March 1918 by a small publisher, after many other larger publishers turned her down because of its controversial 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 was 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.

It was the first book to note that women's sexual desire coincides with ovulation and the period right before menstruation. 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.[1]

The book was the basis for a 1923 British silent film adaptation Married Love directed by Alexander Butler.

Popular culture references[edit]

1. Downton Abbey (Season 4, Episode 4): Housekeeper Mrs. Hughes says it is impossible for lady's maid Edna Braithwaite to be pregnant because Edna owns a copy of Married Love, suggesting that she understands methods of birth control, and therefore could not be pregnant by Tom Branson.

2. Downton Abbey (Season 5, Episodes 2, 3, and 6): In Episode 2 of the fifth series, Lady Mary has a copy of the book which she uses to be sure of no unwanted "consequences" when embarking on a relationship with Lord Gillingham. In Episode 3 she asks for her lady's maid Anna Bates to hide the book in her home to avoid it being discovered in the house. In Episode 6 Anna's husband, John Bates, discovers the book in their home, and is hurt by the prospect that his wife is trying to prevent them having children, which had been a topic of the series between them, but he is unaware that the book was being used by Lady Mary and not his wife.

3. In Parade's End (Episode 5), a 2012 BBC miniseries, the chararcter Valentine Wannop finds a copy of the book in the changing rooms at the school where she works as a games mistress. She discusses it with the rest of the school staff and decides to put it back, not confiscate it, to give the girls a chance to learn about sex before they are married.


  1. ^ Short, R.V. (August 23, 2005). "New ways of preventing HIV infection: thinking simply, simply thinking". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. The Royal Society via PubMed (U.S. National Institutes of Health). 361 (1469): 811–20. doi:10.1098/rstb.2005.1781. PMC 1609406free to read. PMID 16627296. 

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