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About this book
The study of its literature is a useful guide to the degree of sexual security existing in a culture. ' When a future historian comes to treat of the social taboos of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in a fourteen-volume life-work, his theories of the existence of an enormous secret language of bawdry and an immense oral literature of obscene stories and rhymes known, in various degrees of initiation, to every man and woman in the country, yet never consigned to writing or openly admitted as existing, will be treated as a chimerical notion by the enlightened age in which he writes. " If I were asked to name some characteristics typical of the mid-20th century, I would put first the uncritical worship of money, the spread of nationalism, the tyranny of the orgasm, the homosexual protest and the apotheosis of snobbery. Money, sex, and social climbing motivate society. " The English are, on the whole, an inhibited people. They have a basic prudery and gaucheness in sex matters which sets them apart from almost every other nation in Europe. . . . In England, the realisation that many of the restraints and taboos of Victorian times are unnatural and even psychologically harmful, combined with the decline of organized religion, has led to a considerable laxity in sex matters, particularly since World War II. ' 1.