The Pope and the pill

Sex, Catholicism and women in post-war England

By David Geiringer

The Pope and the pill


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3838-5
  • Pages: 232
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: October 2019
  • BIC Category: Religion, RELIGION / Sexuality & Gender Studies, RELIGION / Christianity / Catholic, Humanities / British & Irish history, Roman Catholicism, Roman Catholic Church, Christian Aspects Of Sexuality, Gender & Relationships


This book is about the sexual and religious lives of Catholic women in post-war England. It uses original oral history material to uncover the way Catholic women negotiated spiritual and sexual demands at a moment when the two increasingly seemed at odds with one another. The book also examines the public pronouncements and secretive internal documents of the central Catholic Church, offering a ground-breaking new explanation of the Pope's decision to prohibit the Pill in 1968. The material gathered here offers a fresh perspective on the idea that 'sex killed God', reframing dominant approaches to the histories of sex, religion and social change. The book will be essential reading for not only scholars of sexuality, religion, gender and oral history, but anyone interested in social and cultural change more broadly.


'This is a pathbreaking book, packed with powerful, poignant and highly personal testimonies from Catholic women negotiating Vatican teaching - and their own experiences - of sex, marriage and embodiment across the lifecycle. Geiringer deftly demonstrates the ways in which these subjective renegotiations of the relationship between sex and religion from the 1960s onwards have critical implications for wider understandings of post-war Britain. A compelling read.'
Alana Harris, Lecturer in Modern British History, King's College London


David Geiringer is Associate Lecturer in Contemporary History at Queen Mary University of London


1 Uncovering the sex lives of Catholic women
2 The Catholic Church's understanding of female sexuality
3 Sexuality in later marriage
4 Sexuality in early marriage
5 Early life and pre-marital sexuality

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