Even before the era of AIDS, sex could have fatal consequences for many men and women. For women, lack of contraception could mean repeated pregnancy at a time when childbirth could often end in the death of the child, or the mother. For men and women, sexual diseases that can now be easily and successfully treated were life- threatening, yet often ignored.
Greater sexual freedom dawned with the Second World War and as censorship was relaxed. The post-war government thought the institution of marriage could survive a wife’s admission of an affair and a family outing to the VD clinic. But although marriage remained popular during the 50s, divorce became more commonplace and women used contraception to control their fertility - and the size of their families.
From Marie Stopes to the Ministry of Defence, Sex and Marriage tells the story of how film was used to promote sexual health messages and the ideal of motherhood in an era when the discussion of sex was taboo.