Enduring Passion (1928)
Enduring Passion: A Continuation of Married Love is a book written by Dr Marie Stopes and was first published in 1928, however this version in the Hypatia collection is the eighth edition which was released in 1956. This was published by The Hogarth Press in London and priced at 7s. 6d. net (cloth) and 4s. net (paper).
This book was a follow up to the hugely popular manual Married Love also written by Stopes, first published in 1918. As well as focusing on marital sex she also wrote many other similar advice books on other subjects such as motherhood, contraception and venereal disease. A British author and public advocate for women’s rights, she used these advice manuals to bring controversial subjects like birth control into public discourse.
In Enduring Passion for example Dr Stopes discusses how to approach highly sensitive and intimate marital issues such as ‘the Frigid Wife’, ‘The Change’ in both men and women and ‘Premature Ejaculation’. Such personal issues would not have usually been addressed so publicly and in such detail in this period, as highlighted by the fact the first book in the series Married Love was initially rejected by multiple publishers. The issues discussed in this source also highlight the roles expected of both men and women within a marriage in this period. For example, some of the problems raised such as husbands being ‘under-sexed’ and wives ‘frigid’ shows that both partners were expected to want to participate in regular sex for a healthy marriage. Marie Stopes also highlights some problems with society’s disapproving views of sex within this, arguing that ‘the frigid wife’ is a result of being ‘brought up in such an atmosphere of sex repression’ as a result of ‘the false teaching that a woman should show and feel no spontaneous enjoyment in sex life’. Ideas about eugenics that were widespread at the time can also be seen through her opinions on this issue, as she comments that some frigidity can also be caused by a genital abnormality ‘prevalent in the Anglo-Saxon stock’ that prevents women from enjoying sex.
This source therefore gives us an important insight into the sexual expectations and issues that arose within a marriage at this time. Marie Stopes gives her advice on these problems with a level of detail that was generally unheard of, bringing difficult sexual health subjects into public discourse in the process.
Looking for more sources?
The Hypatia collection includes a variety of Stopes’ work, including Married Love (1918), Birth Control Today (1934), Wise Parenthood (1923), and Radiant Motherhood (1920). It also includes a number of biographical works by authors such as Keith Briant and Ruth Hall.
The collection also houses many other advice texts related to sex and marriage. These range from late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century texts, such as Edward John Hardy’s 1887 work How To Be Happy Though Married and Hugh Davidson’s 1912 Marriage and Motherhood : a Wife's Handbook, to advice manuals produced in the 1970s and 1980s discussing Open Marriages or how to be wife and ‘have it all.’
Elsewhere online, the Wellcome Library have records (and some digitised material) relating to Stopes’ work on birth control, sex, and marriage. The have also produced a helpful online exhibition called The Ignorant Bride which covers her life and work. The Science Museum also host a short biography of Stopes, including links to related figures and a bibliography. You can also find complete copies of her works available through www.archive.org, including Enduring Passion.
Written by Kim Tolkien