Archives open up centuries of British sex

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The 17th century punishment for sex crimes was public humiliation and 1930s Britons pretended to be drunk so they could get away with sex on the beach.

Historical attitudes to sex in Britain will be laid bare for all to see this week in archives which reveal a nation rich in sexual experience and enthusiasm.

The historical documents, to be given a public outing by the Center for Archive Studies at Liverpool University, include Britain's first ever sex survey, conducted 57 years ago but deemed too shocking for publication at the time.

The survey shows many British men had homosexual experiences, many were frequent visitors to prostitutes and many British wives pursued sex outside marriage.

The archives also have details of public displays of sexual behavior in the 1930s on the west coast's famous Blackpool Beach as well as in cinemas and dance halls, and show how many Britons threw sexual caution to the wind during World War Two.

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