Did Thatcher want to ban sex toys?
It's well known that there are certain people who disapprove of some sexual practices. Sex toys, bondage and other activities are often frowned upon, but most people recognise that everyone has their own tastes and should be left to it. However, this was not always the case: one UK prime minister wanted to ban sex toys altogether!
Margaret Thatcher, of all people, wanted to crack down on what she saw as obscene behaviour. This included seeing if sex toys could be made illegal under the UK's obscenity laws, particularly the 1959 Obscene Publications Act. She did not succeed, of course, but the story of how she tried has only just come to light.
Documents released by the National Archives recently have shown that Mrs Thatcher became heavily influenced by Mary Whitehouse, a famed anti-obscenity campaigner and founder of the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association. Mrs Whitehouse spend much of her life trying to stop what she saw as Britain's moral decline.
Mrs Thatcher was also written to by the home secretary of the time, Leon Brittan. He said of sex toys: "Some of the items in circulation are most objectionable, including some which can cause physical injury." This inspired the prime minister to ask Mr Brittan to create a test that would determine whether or not something was obscene.
This would enable Mrs Thatcher to ban things based on the "depraved and corrupt" aspect of the 1959 Obscene Publications Act. However, it was eventually determined that public taste was not something that could be acted upon in a court, as it differs from person to person.
All this means that, although Mrs Thatcher tried to have sex toys banned, they can still be used today. Luckily, it is not very easy to get sexual practices banned unless they clearly cause harm to other people. Sex toys are just a bit of fun, which most Britons now understand!