Lady Chatterley's Lover: 45 Years Later
Now, before you frown and attribute this to the existence of Hustler and Barely Legal magazines -- this paved the way for sexual content, period. If you've read a novel that describes sexual activity in any way, you can thank Lady Chatterley and her ass-boinking servant. The freedom from obscenity-labelling allowed Judy Blume's Forever and The Color Purple by Alice Walker to be published. Mentioning a condom in a book (a contraceptive device, also frowned upon in the same US postal law), like in The Cheerleader, was inviting jail-time, but Chatterley gave these topics a way into the public discourse.
The Cheerleader, Forever, Portnoy's Complaint, Brave New World, and numerous other books of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, all planted the seeds of sexual understanding in today's adults -- including those people who wish to impose greater censorship on books. Let's hope they don't get their way, and sexual knowledge can continue to be available to those looking for it. There's not much sexually from the pre-Chatterley days (save the flapper days of the 20s) that the world needs to return to: oppresion of women, naiive recklessness, emotional repression...none of that's necessary, and being able to read about it helped bring us to today, where Dr. Ruth can talk about penises freely and a husband on Deperate Housewives can be into BDSM.