The Sex Side of Life (1919) by Mary Ware Dennett
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Mary Ware Dennett, an activist in the US for birth control and sex education in the early twentieth century, wrote an educational pamphlet in 1915 called “The Sex Side of Life, and it was published in 1919. The pamphlet defined the functions of the sex organs, emphasized the role of love and pleasure in sex, and described other sexual processes of the body not usually discussed openly. In the early twentieth century in the US, individuals did not have wide access to sex education due to the limitations enforced by the Comstock Act, which prohibited the distribution and discussion of topics that were considered obscene. In 1929, the US tried Dennett for mailing her pamphlet as a violation of the Comstock Act, sending obscene material through the United States Postal Service. Dennett’s pamphlet, Tthe “Sex Side of Life,” and her subsequent trial, United States v. Dennett, contributed to a national discussion about sex education and human reproduction and led to the revision of reproduction- related obscenity laws.