Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sex education in the 60s - allegedly

Click on picture to enlarge


I came across this alleged extract from a 1960s sex education text over at Our-Local. (They're a great bunch of people over there but don't visit if you're easily offended.) You'll have noticed that the explanatory text is part of the picture, so clearly this isn't the original page. But is the text genuine? Some people think that it is but I don't agree.

I was born in 1954 so I was young in the 60s and my memory of how people talked about sex then is that they didn't!

As I remember it, advice for young girls was mainly about periods. Oh, and washing your stockings every day. I don't remember any advice on marriage, except possibly "wait until you're married". No one said what you were meant to wait for, because that kind of thing wasn't talked about.

Human reproduction was covered in biology lessons and booklets. The two-dimensional diagrams of male and female reproductive organs didn't really explain how people had sexual intercourse (as it was called) let alone why they would want to do so.

Open2.net says in A Brief History of Sex Ed:
Anecdotal accounts of lessons on the reproductive systems of rabbits, or the pollination of flowering plants, suggest that much school sex education in the UK in the 1950s and ‘60s, was carried out through the descriptions, though not the observations, of the reproductive habits of plants and non-human animals.
At least we were told about humans.

The alleged text book article strikes a very different note. It just doesn't ring true to me and I actually find it much funnier to read it as the spoof it undoubtedly is.

Do you agree?

20 COMMENTS:

Old Kitty said...

And babies get delivered by cranky storks like in Dumbo.

Awwww!

:-)

Do you watch Glee? The young lead finds out his girlfriend is pregnant. He is obviously confused because he never suggested "congress" of any kind. By way of explanation, his girlfriend says it was the time they were in the hot tub where they kissed and he had a little accident. Being TV, the guy accepts all this.

:-)

I prefer the idea of storks flying around with babies for everyone!

p.s. thank you for making me laugh out loud!! I might go check out that link - I need more cheering up!

Take care
x

maybe genius said...

This reminds me of the 1800's Advice for New Brides email that floats around every once in a while. Probably (hopefully!) satire, but you're not *quite* sure...

Scarlet Blue said...

I've found this... 1950's America... I shall continue to search for the UK!
Sx

fairyhedgehog said...

Kitty, storks would have made my life easier when the boys came along! And I've never heard of a hot tub "accident" resulting in pregnancy before!

maybe, there are definite similarities, including the use of language that seems anachronistic.

Scarlet, that's priceless and suggests that most sex ed in the 50s and 60s was really adverts for sanitary products.

Sarah Laurenson said...

This excerpt reminds me of a book. The name escapes me at the moment, but I will think more on it. The book was all about how to take care of your man and some of the chapters got rather detailed.

The 'voice' is exactly the same. And no, this wasn't a sex ed book.

I remember having a plastic pregnant half woman in the 5th or 6th grade. It was a cut away so you could see the baby - another plastic model being held by the instructor - and she showed how the baby was born. No talk about how the baby came to be there in the first place. And it was so out of place with everything else we were learning that it stuck out in my memory.

In Jr. High, we talked about periods mostly. That was our health class. We did talk about sperm and how long it could live inside the woman's body. So we did have some tangential talks about sex. There was no sex-ed in High School.

fairyhedgehog said...

Sarah, I wonder when your health ed was? I have a feeling it was later than mine!

If you could find that book it would be very interesting.

Sarah Laurenson said...

The baby class was about 1971. Health classes would be from 73-76.

I think that book was something like The Happy Housewife. I looked it up on amazon and it seems many books were named that. Not sure. I know it was around in the early 80's. It was all about meeting your hubby at the door wrapped in saran wrap and stuff like that. Ya know - keeping the children clean and quiet and dressed in nice clothes when he comes home from work - yadda yadda. Meet him at the door with a martini...

fairyhedgehog said...

Sarah, I think my biology information came when I was around 13 so that would be in 1967, not as long before you as I'd guessed. The Happy Housewife sounds terrible. I thought it was only fundamentalist Christian groups who wrote like that in the 80s!

Simon Kewin said...

I agree, that must be a spoof. I certainly hope so!

fairyhedgehog said...

Simon, I hope so too!

Bevie said...

Books for and about women written by men.

Not even "wild" people talked openly about sex. As far as school was concerned, it didn't happen. And there was no explanation about why "Corrine" wasn't allowed to attend graduation.

I was in tenth grade before I knew what when where and why. haha

fairyhedgehog said...

Bevie, I have no idea how old tenth grade kids are!

I can remember wondering how parents knew whether their child was a boy or a girl. The only way I knew to tell was by hair length and clothes. (Boys wore trousers, girls didn't.)

Richard N said...

I was at school in the late 60s and the mechanics of sex weren't discussed very much, however gender-roles were - and they were taught in a manner that pretty much agreed with the article... wives had a duty to serve, and should make due allowance for the weaknesses of their men.

The song "Wives & Lovers" accurately reflects the way such matter were being taught in Leicestershire at the tail-end of the 1960s.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xt3jQMOz5Hw

fairyhedgehog said...

That's a brilliant video, Richard.

I'm amazed that you and I were taught so differently. I got all my "a woman's place is in the home" teaching at home not at school. It must have been disappointing for the boys when they found out that girls were people too.

Richard N said...

FH, it was pretty much exactly the opposite for me - it was a church school because there wasn't an alternative, but I was brought up in a much more enlightened household... Mum & Dad were a true team in every sense of the word then and remain so now - that and a warped sense of humour have proved a remarkably resilient survival mechanism over the years, and it's one Babs & myself do our best to emulate.

fairyhedgehog said...

Richard, I can testify to the warped sense of humour!

Bernita said...

Reads more like something from the 30's or 40's!

fairyhedgehog said...

Bernita, I'm just glad that things are not like that today.

Richard N said...

It was a damn sight worse in the 1930s...

http://blog.modernmechanix.com/2010/03/08/how-i-made-my-marriage-happy/

And there are those on the 'religious right' who are actively working for a return to 'that golden era'.

I could just imagine the reaction if any of them knocked on your door spouting that, FH... >;-)

fairyhedgehog said...

Richard, that article is full of the sexism of the era but the main thrust is fairly pragmatic: don't expect the person you marry to be perfect; accept them as they are if you want to be happy. I think there's a lot of truth in that.

But I agree that the sexism grates.

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