Sex in history, by Gordan Rattray Taylor

In society at large, though we flatter ourselves that we are free from superstition, we do not have the courage openly to abandon supernatural fears. For instance, we still maintain laws against blasphemy, and in England in 1929 a proposal to repeal these laws was abandoned. To believe in the possibility of blasphemy is to believe in the magical power of words. This is not a question of rationalism: one can very well believe in the existence of a Deity, without believing that He will be so human as to feel His dignity injured by what men say about Him. To a Deity who knows what men think before they say it, it must surely be immaterial whether they put it into words or not.

Furthermore, there is still a strong patrist group, comprising many distinguished individuals, whose outlook resembles that of mediaeval patrists with amazing closeness. For instance, Dr. Lyttleton, headmaster of Eton, once declared:

“All exercise of a bodily faculty for the sake of pleasure and except for the purpose for which the faculty was given is wrong”

— a dictum which not only rules out all forms of sport but also excludes all sexual intercourse, except for the purpose of begetting children, and thus revives the most extreme doctrine of the Middle Ages.

Just as in the past, patrists do not merely condemn sexual freedom as immoral, they also assert that it is destructive to society.(19) For instance, in 1935, Canon Bickersteth wrote to The Times, apparently in complete seriousness, to say,

“The increase in adultery and the breaking of the marriage laws are greater dangers to national safety than bombing from the air.”