Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the 1960s


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But Freeman considers this to have been wholly exceptional p. The sexual characteristic of girls which received far more attention was their developing breasts: which were, of course, a visible marker of the transition to womanhood, the object of male attention, and required a certain degree of management. Menstruation was also something that had to be managed: while it might be discussed, it was still an area of secrecy and one in which girls had to be trained to deal with discreetly. If male students were told about it, in general terms, it was often with messages about being particularly considerate to girls and women during their times of special fragility.

A similar ambivalence hovered over the subject of masturbation, if it was mentioned at all. While eschewing traditional views that it caused physical debility or mental breakdown, if mentioned at all it was not encouraged and suggestions were given for how to avoid the practice. Concerns were raised over its potential impact on later marital adjustment. Heterosexuality and marriage were, it is quite clear, absolutely central to the discourses of sex education at this period, with emphasis on the complementarity of male and female.


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The notion of marriage was largely companionate, and sex education was promoted as enabling this ideal state in which both halves of the couple were aware not only of their own sexual natures but of the differences that might create tensions and unhappiness. However, Freeman acutely observes that the format of most sex education programmes, which were about raising points for class discussion rather than laying down rigid rules of correct behaviour, enabled exploration of this paradigm. Hannah Storch is currently a senior at Grinnell College, double majoring in history and classics.

She has long been interested in the stigma surrounding venereal diseases prior to the 20 th century and what caused the shift that allowed them to be more openly talked about in sex education classes and society as a whole.

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Prior to the 20 th century, people understood very little about syphilis or the spread of venereal diseases in general, and they did not want to know more. Meanwhile, existing attitudes about the disease was heavily influenced by ideologically determined assumptions about class and gender [1]. The Progressive Era at the turn of the 20 th century created an environment that was much more receptive to open discussions about sex and sexually transmitted diseases. Nevertheless, it was after World War I that there was a marked increase in venereal disease prevention programs and sex education programs which resulted in more open discussion in society about syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases.

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The Progressive Era marked a clear change in how people in America viewed sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases. By the late 19 th century, Americans began to see youth as its own stage of life and began to conceive of the idea of a sexually-charged period of adolescence. As Moran states in his book, the idea of adolescence arose from three things: first, the ongoing segregation and sorting of children by age, which further separated them from the adult world; second, the fact that the average age of puberty had decreased so that people were becoming sexually mature earlier in life; and third, that the period of training and education for young men had grown longer, which delayed the average of marriage [2].

Disease, exploitation, and unwanted pregnancies were common dangers and the reformers of the time just made people more aware of these health threats. Because of this, many parents, especially among the educated middle class, were increasingly receptive to the idea that their adolescent children needed help regulating their desires and increasingly relied on educational systems and governmental programs to provide this support [3].

Other reformers saw government intervention as a means of significantly improving the lives of the ordinary working class.

Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the 's

However, with the increasing spread of sexual knowledge and education, there was also a widespread fear that sexual knowledge would somehow transform itself into sexual practice. Due to this concern, early-twentieth-century sex educators tried to codify and control the production and dissemination of knowledge, emphasizing the connection between individual conduct and the condition of the American family as it represented the nation.

Sex education pamphlets were very explicit in their reminders that every citizen has a responsibility to protect the nation by protecting their home and family from the threat of venereal disease [6]. Naturally, those that believe that homosexuality and premarital sex are a normal part of the range of human sexuality disagree with them. They may believe that sexual knowledge is necessary, or simply unavoidable, hence their preference for curricula based on abstinence.

Sex education

One major source of controversy in the realm of sex education is whether LGBT sex education should be integrated into school curricula. Studies have shown that many schools do not offer such education today. Proponents of LGBT sex education argue that encompassing homosexuality into the curricula would provide LGBT students with the sexual health information they need, [] and help to ameliorate problems such as low self-esteem and depression that research has shown can be present in LGBT individuals.

These education standards outline seven core topics that must be addressed in sex education; one of those core topics is identity. The identity topic presents lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identities as possibilities for students as they progress through life and come to understand who they are.

These standards, the Future of Sex Education argues, will start in kindergarten and will evolve into more complex topics throughout schooling as the students mature and age. Opponents often argue that teaching LGBT sex education would be disrespectful to some religions [21] and expose students to inappropriate topics. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Sex Ed disambiguation.

Barbara Hastings-Asatourian of the University of Salford demonstrates "Contraception", a sex education board game played in UK schools. Main article: Sex education curriculum. Main article: Sex education in India.

News Highlights

See also: Sex and Relationships Education. Main article: Sex education in the United States. Main article: LGBT sex education. Human sexuality portal Education portal. Military Sex Education. Critical Public Health. Archived from the original PDF on November 8, Retrieved November 8, The Huffington Post. Retrieved December 16, Archived from the original on May 9, Retrieved December 25, HarperCollins: New York. Burt, Linda Brower Meeks Education for Sexuality: Concepts and Programs for Teaching.

Saunders Co. October February 3, The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. BMJ Clinical research ed. Retrieved March 13, British Medical Journal. National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Homepage of the study.

Why you should care

Archived from the original on July 14, EBSCO host , search. The New York Times. Retrieved November 2, Part one "the failure..


  1. Product information.
  2. Susan Freeman's book offers fresh look at old sex ed views!
  3. Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the s by Susan K. Freeman.
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  7. Angus Reid Public Opinion. Archived from the original PDF on October 18, Retrieved November 30, Archived from the original on January 10, Retrieved August 5, Retrieved May 20, Retrieved November 22, The Himalayan Times.

    Creepy 60's Sex Ed Film

    June 5, Sex Education. Retrieved January 28, Retrieved October 11, December 14, October 31, Archived from the original on August 10, University Of Chicago Press. Chicago: U of Chicago, Family Planning Perspectives.

    ededidumoz.ga Gender, Work and Organization. Health, 17; 1; Retrieved February 13, Archived from the original on July 9, BBC News. February 26, June 15, September 4, January 13, UK Parliament. April 30, Archived from the original on June 20, The Globe and Mail. Retrieved July 16, The Toronto Star. Archived from the original on August 23, Retrieved August 22, CBC News.


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    Archived from the original on September 4, Retrieved September 4, Landry; Susheela Singh; Jacqueline E. Darroch September—October Public Schools, ". Retrieved May 23, Issue Update. Kaiser Family Foundation. Archived from the original PDF on October 28, Darroch; David J. Landry; Susheela Singh September—October Public Secondary Schools, ".

    See especially Table 3.

    Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the 1960s Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the 1960s
    Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the 1960s Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the 1960s
    Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the 1960s Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the 1960s
    Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the 1960s Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the 1960s
    Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the 1960s Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the 1960s
    Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the 1960s Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the 1960s
    Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the 1960s Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the 1960s
    Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the 1960s Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the 1960s

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