Love without fear

love-without-fear-orangeI’ve done a little more digging, and come up with the goods – the book my grandfather defended as a solicitor in an obscenity trial was Love Without Fear, by Dr Eustace Chesser, which was in fact published in 1942. It sold 5,000 copies before the DPP decided to declare it obscene. Chesser was offered the option to plead guilty and be fined, but he chose to be tried by jury instead, and my grandfather’s firm helped him win the case.

Chesser wrote the book because he recognised (from working as a doctor in slum areas) that many people were very messed up about sex, and ignorant about the possibilities (especially for the pleasure of women), and that this was causing them emotional stress. He deliberately chose to go against the normal trend in those days of using Latin terms for genitalia, and kept it plain and simple.

It took the jury less than an hour to acquit him, in the end, and this proved to be a landmark trial in the history of sex education vs. obscenity laws in the UK.

My grandfather, whatever else he may have been, helped make this happen. Go, Alec.

*****

It seems very apt to me that I find out about this at the same time that I’m contemplating asexuality. For me, love without fear means love without sex (for the foreseeable future); but I like to think of this book leading to relief from fear around sex for many people, especially women.

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2 comments on “Love without fear

  1. I am a social historian at University of Glasgow. I am researching Eustace Chesser in relation to my studies of humanists and sex education in the middle of the twentieth century. I am fascinated by your observations on your grandfather’s role in the defence of Chesser at his 1942 trial, and for remarks you make about his work in the slums of London. There is remarkably little published about Chesser (his ODNB entry is fairly slight), and I wonder if you have any source to your grandfather – papers of his perhaps – that speak of Chesser and his work. Feel free to contact me by email direct.
    Callum Brown

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