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cooeedownunder
06-14-2011, 11:57 AM
By what I can make out sex education in Australia, at least to begin with, was driven in the early 1920s along eugenic lines.

I'm aware of a great deal of little books put out by different men and women’s associations, and makers of women’s hygiene products and recall reading something myself in the seventies that never extended much further from a diagram of male and female bodies, menstruation, and pimples, while brushing briefly over the fact that some men and woman find each other attractive and desire to be together, and mentioning that when this happens couples will date. But I don’t recall them saying what desire was or how deeply emotions can be affected - something that currently isn’t still really being touched on to date in schools here.

I'm interested in hearing any memories anyone has regarding sex education in any schooling atmosphere at any grade level including regligious schools, or the lack of it, in the period 1960 - 1965 in particular Commonwealth countries, and the US.

alleycat
06-14-2011, 12:54 PM
I went to high school in the US a little later than that time period, but I think it was probably still much the same. There were no sex education classes, as such, at that time where I went to school.

There were physical education (PE) classes, separated by sex; at one point in the school year there would be a "classroom period" where certain aspects of maturing and sexuality would be discussed, along with hygiene. For the boys these were taught by the coaches, who would be frank, but didn't have much to say about the emotional side of things. Their discussions about sex were mostly of the pithy style ("Now, boys, if you don't put a condom on that thing you could get a girl pregnant . . . ").

Also, a general overview of human reproduction would be taught in biology classes (generally taken in the 10th grade).

About once a year someone from the county health department would come and show a film about STDs (then just called VD or venereal diseases). The film looked like it was made in the 1950s. It was rather dry. After the film there would be a short question and answer period. There might be one or two serious questions, and then the rest of the questions would be from wiseacres and classes clowns.

PinkAmy
06-14-2011, 02:30 PM
I went to school a little later than that, too. In the US.
In fifth grade (age 10-11) the girls and boys were separated. The girls were told about menstruation and I have no clue what the boys were told. This was back in the days before precocious puberty--no one had their periods yet. In high school he had one semester, one a week of "Health Education." The "Sex-Ed" part consisted of sperm and egg (with a very brief mention of penis and vagina) and STDs. In those days Syphillis and Gonorrhea were the only STDs. There was a very brief overview of birth control which consisted of the pill and condoms (but no demonstrations on bananas.) Fortunately there was no morality/abstinence/waiting until marriage bullshit. Then we had a written test. We only had 2 or 3 pregnant girls out of a class of 350 (and this was before a lot of parents talked to their kids about sex), so maybe that was enough.

Unlike Alley, we didn't get reproduction in BIO, but we did get genetics. I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. We didn't have movies or the health department.
Oh, and there was a ton of giggling, not just from the class clowns :D. I would bet that you, Alley, grew up in a larger town or city, perhaps?

alleycat
06-14-2011, 02:44 PM
I grew up in what would be considered (in the US) a large town, or a small city (current population of the entire county is now about 150,000). I did go to a very large high school; at the time it was the second or third largest in the state.

cooeedownunder
06-14-2011, 03:00 PM
Not because of your post Alley, although you did hit on condoms - that this was suggested to the boys, but it appears that girls weren't provided a great deal of information at all....

PinkAmy, by the time I went to school - I think I left highschool in 1992 or 1994 (LOL -can't remember), we were taught about condoms and the pill but I don't think this would have been taught earlier - especially to Christian students - well at least Catholic students.

cooeedownunder
06-14-2011, 03:04 PM
This will contradict what I said a bit in my previous post, but I'm aware that some Catholic teaching nuns were given lessons on sex education from priests to pass on to their students and did hold lessons with parents and children to some degree that basically covered the bilogical bits. They did not cover birth control - so it will be great to hear also from someone who went to a Catholic school.

alleycat
06-14-2011, 03:13 PM
I grew up and live in what is known as the "Bible belt" in the US.

Even now the state laws are very restrictive about what is taught about sex in the lower grades (under age 13); to the point of it being a Class B misdemeanor.

I have no idea what the girls were taught in their high school PE classes. I would have thought it was more than the boys, but I could be wrong. As I mentioned, our sex education was primarily limited to a suggestion of wearing a condom to pretend VD or getting a girl pregnant, and not sleeping with an "easy girl" (at least, not with one who was a professional at it). I think we spent more time discussing pimples than sex.

cooeedownunder
06-14-2011, 03:23 PM
Although I’m looking for clarification for the period between the years mention for a WIP. Even today, here, classes are basically restricted to what it appears we were being taught thirty odd years ago. There is no official sex education syllabise here, and much of the education is determined by individual teachers who take on the roles. A shame really, when it appears our teens and young adults are struggling to make sense of it all, despite all the barriers we crossed.

Puma
06-14-2011, 04:22 PM
Okay, US, I graduated from high school in 1962 - so I'm the right age.

In fifth grade (1955 app), we were separated into girls and boys and the county health nurse told us about menstruation. We were given a little booklet called "Growing up and liking it". It contained such wise information as - when you have your period, flowers will wilt on you. I don't remember that there was anything in it about sex (my mother told me the very little bit I was officially told about that.)

Being in a rural farm community, we all figured things out from the animals and stupid third grade jokes like "Dad, why don't you go put your banana in Mom's fruit basket."

High school - I don't recall any sex education. We had biology which did include genetics and some reproduction but nothing specific as to humans. There might have been five minutes in phys ed class, but neither of the phys-ed teachers we had would have been likely to say much (and were both unmarried). We never had health as a subject.

I'm north of the Bible Belt, but in what would be considered the farming heartland. Very small community - there were 75 in my high school class in a consolidated school district that covers about sixty square miles.

Sorry I can't help more, Cooee. Puma

shadowwalker
06-14-2011, 05:33 PM
I grew up in a small farming town. Sex education was first introduced in 1970 - and it was a one session, voluntary class. Parents had to sign a consent form - and the local paper went wild with letters to the editor complaining about it. The teacher (an outside lecturer) could not mention contraceptives or condoms, only abstinence. When I graduated in 1973, it still had not become a regular part of health class. Otherwise, sex education consisted only of teaching the body parts and what happened during puberty. And those classes were taught separately to boys and girls. But then, as someone else mentioned, most of the kids (farmers) knew more about sex than was taught anyway.

So, as far as what happened 1960-65 - nothing. It was up to parents, clergy, or doctors.

WriteMinded
06-14-2011, 06:45 PM
7th grade for me. A movie. It showed a diagram of a uterus and explained menstruation. I was very disappointed. Not one picture of a penis. Condoms were not mentioned, but then, neither was intercourse, so I suppose avoiding pregnancy was not pertinent. Oral contraceptives did not exist. In high school sex education existed only off campus. :)

PinkAmy
06-14-2011, 07:40 PM
PinkAmy, by the time I went to school - I think I left highschool in 1992 or 1994 (LOL -can't remember), we were taught about condoms and the pill but I don't think this would have been taught earlier - especially to Christian students - well at least Catholic students.
Definitely not to catholic students. I went to a catholic college in the area and took a required religion class Christian Marriage and the lecturer told us that birth control wasn't acceptable. We were required to take a bus trip to DC to protest Roe v. Way. I refused along with another heathen who told the class she had an abortion after we were forced to watch one of those brainwashing movies against choice (I loved her.) But, I digress.
We were a much more liberal country before we got re-hijacked by the Puritans. Richard Nixon wouldn't be too liberal for the republican party today. My town was the most progressive in an area of hickvilles. Doctors, professors, attorneys etc. lived in the school district where I grew up so we might not have been a typical microcosm of the era. Education (real education, not junk science) was highly promoted.
I'd love to see what you come up with for your story.

MaryMumsy
06-14-2011, 07:54 PM
Your time frame covers my grades 6-10. I don't remember any form of sex education. I was an early bloomer and got periods and boobs when I was 11. The first time I got a period it was quite a shock. Mom hadn't told me anything because she didn't think I was old enough yet. I was in 3 schools, in 3 locations, but all would have been considered small. Even though small, there were large numbers of military, so rather cosmopolitan.

MM

Steve Collins
06-14-2011, 08:38 PM
I started school in London in 1962 and we had no sex education or reference to it whatsoever.

WriteKnight
06-14-2011, 08:40 PM
I transitioned from private catholic school - to public junior high in those years. We had 'health' class - the coaches showed films with animations that explained that you could catch all sorts of nasty diseases for 'doing it' - absolutely no instruction as to how it was done. By freshman year - in biology class - there was a very interesting booklet that was passed out. This was my first experience with what would later be called an 'interactive' learning booklet.

It would explain a concept - then ask you to answer a multiple choice. "IF you answered "B" - turn to page thirty six. IN this way - it actually taught you about sex and STD's in a measured 'paced' manner.

I blew through it in ten minutes.

scope
06-14-2011, 09:07 PM
This is a subject that has intrigued me for a very long time, and still does--in a healthy way.

I'm going extend your dates a bit to 1968. Up to that point, in the US, it was basically taboo for parents or teachers to teach youngsters (4-10 year olds) the basic facts of life -- the "birds and the bees". Same for churches of all faiths and appropriate organiztions and associations. And then suddenly a children's book was published by Time Life Books and General Learning Corp. (the educational affilate of General Electric) that in a short time changed all of this. The title of the book is HOW BABIES ARE MADE, and it was distributed by Time life and Little, Brown & Company. The book met with vicious public criticism and attempts to bar it that came from many prestigious-at least well known-organizations such as the John Birch Society. But the attacks were to no avail since HOW BABIES ARE MADE was publicly accepted by parents, teachers, other caregivers, churches of all faiths, organizations and associations (e.g., PTA'a). It was a bestseller in the US and was translated into some 40 languages and sold abroad. It was truly THE book that opened the doors for the teaching of sex ed for children. It stayed in print for 35 years and is still available onlne thru Amazon, Abebooks, and a bunch of other out of print and/or used book sites. Many, many books followed in it's wake, but in my opinion none come close to meeting the overall quality of HOW BABIES ARE MADE, the book that brought sex education for children "out of the closet".

Lil
06-14-2011, 10:58 PM
You may have trouble believing this, but in a private girls' school (grades 1-12) in the early 1960s near New York City not only was there no sex education at all but the biology teacher skipped the chapter on reproduction because it was too embarrassing.

talkwrite
06-15-2011, 12:26 AM
I was in secondary/jr.high school then. When I read your question, the first thought I had was there was none....and then I remembered Health class. That was the precursor to sex ed. It was usually taught by the school nurse and she ( nurses were always women back then) covered personal hygiene and that mandated our first pictures of the naked body. The advanced ones braved the topic of "urges" as I recall. Have you looked at the book Our Bodies Ourselves and other early feminist literature. These books talk about the lack of open discussion of sexuality and they promoted sex education in the schools, which resulted in protests by the churches and parents. Those were the days. sigh.

LoopyLinde
06-15-2011, 07:23 AM
I was 9 through 12 and living in rural Virginia during that time. In 5th grade I remember the boys being taken out of class for an hour. They were told not to discuss what went on with the girls, who got no info at all. My mother gave me a little booklet when I was 12 or so explaining the mechanics of periods. I thought it was shockingly bizarre.

Anything else about sex I learned either from reading a copy of The Group which my parents had hidden away in their bedroom, or from the children of family friends who lived on a dairy farm and knew all about it. At least as far as how the cows did it.

cooeedownunder
06-15-2011, 11:41 AM
Guys, you have all been very helpful. It seems clear by what I've already found, and all your comments that it was basically related to health and biology.

I can't help but comment further though on HOW BABIES ARE MADE. I was about nine and something made me want to know what the word 'sex' meant, so I took my self off to the school library and come across that book, and I remember a particular image in it of a mum and dad, and I went back day after day for a week or so to look again through the book, totally fascinated that people played in that manner. LOL

It was a good book and is still used here.

pdr
06-15-2011, 12:39 PM
Yes, cooee, in high schools in NZ, in the 60s, general science and/or biology classes covered sex education, venereal disease, and basc contraception. the pill had just arrived so there was a lot of general news about that outside school.

In the UK, at my all girls public school, two girls disgraced the school by becoming pregnant! After that special sex education classes - two blocks of once a week classes, for six weeks - were held every year for all upper fourth, and lower and upper fifth classes. They were explicit.

Most girls' public schools did a good job teaching that part of biology called human biology and reproduction. I know the local girls' grammar school did too, but I don't think the secondary modern schools did.

alleycat
06-15-2011, 12:42 PM
When I was in the seventh grade, one of the guys on the basketball team would insist that his parents wouldn't "do that" (have sex). We thought it was a hoot. "How do you think you got here, dumbass?" (he wasn't adopted). He still wouldn't believe anyone.

I have my own funny story about sex when I was a little younger than that . . . but I don't think I want to share that one. ;-)

cooeedownunder
06-15-2011, 01:06 PM
pdr - you say 'They were explicit.' As one of our one time polititians is famous for saying...'Please explain?' Also do you remember what the lessons were called? Did they use the words, Sex Education?

And Alley, come on, don't be shy. Please share :D

alleycat
06-15-2011, 01:27 PM
It might be a little too graphic.

Plus, people would laugh and point at me and call me names! ;-)

cooeedownunder
06-15-2011, 02:22 PM
Don't they already do that? :D

Royal Mercury
06-15-2011, 05:05 PM
I was in Jr. High in Florida at that time.

One day, they brought all the boys into the auditorium and had a pretty basic talk, with questions and answers after. That was it. I assume that they called all the girls into the auditorium at a separate time.

PinkAmy
06-15-2011, 05:30 PM
I was in Jr. High in Florida at that time.

One day, they brought all the boys into the auditorium and had a pretty basic talk, with questions and answers after. That was it.

Finally! Now I know what the boys were talking about when we learned about the joys of menstruation :D.

PinkAmy
06-15-2011, 05:32 PM
When I was in the seventh grade, one of the guys on the basketball team would insist that his parents wouldn't "do that" (have sex). We thought it was a hoot. "How do you think you got here, dumbass?" (he wasn't adopted). He still wouldn't believe anyone.


Did he still believe in Santa Claus?

WriteMinded
06-15-2011, 06:38 PM
A shame really, when it appears our teens and young adults are struggling to make sense of it all, despite all the barriers we crossed.They are?????


I'm going extend your dates a bit to 1968. Up to that point, in the US, it was basically taboo for parents or teachers to teach youngsters (4-10 year olds) the basic facts of life -- the "birds and the bees". I am amazed at some of the answers here. This one is stunning. In 1968 - where I lived - there was no such taboo. Much earlier than that, parents were expected to give their kids "the talk". Schools didn't explain how babies were made, but parents did. They did it with red faces, but they did it. 'Course, they were way too late. We already knew all about it, but we were tolerant. In fact, in 1968 - in California - it wasn't unusual to come across couples indulging themselves in the park or on the beach. Women walked down the main street in my hometown wearing nothing above the waist. I could go on . . .


Guys, you have all been very helpful. It seems clear by what I've already found, and all your comments that it was basically related to health and biology. Yes.

In the 70s a friend gave her ten year old daughter a book (maybe the one you mentioned) and asked her to read it. A few days later, she sat down with her and asked if she had any questions. The girl had only one: It's just like fucking, isn't it?

Bufty
06-15-2011, 08:21 PM
Not relevant to your dates, but I recall the sex-education class in the London Grammar School I attended in early 1950's.

The science master scribbled a chalk penis and vagina on the blackboard and instructed us to copy them in our science books. Ten minutes, and the bell rang for change of class.

That was it. :Shrug:

I learned more from the damp crumpled copies of Hank Jansen that were passed around.

Funny how we've all survived, isn't it?

cooeedownunder
06-16-2011, 01:34 AM
They are?????

Yes. In general teenagers and young adults have quite a dangerous sexual culture. Many having three or more partners a year at sixteen. There is currently great debate here regarding sex education in schools. It is still taught basically like it was back at the start. Although there is a lot more talk about contraception, there is nothing regarding the emotional impact of such things. Initally we were taught about contraception and still are a great deal in regards to stopping sexually transmitted diseases but it has unintentially provided a freedom for todays youth who have no comprehensive of the impact of their actions.

http://www.theage.com.au/news/education-news/think-sex/2006/05/28/1148754861223.html

http://www.abc.net.au/dimensions/dimensions_health/Transcripts/s827090.htm

pdr
06-16-2011, 02:35 AM
cooee, a public school which could do its own thing if the parents signed a consent form to allow their daughter to attend the classes. It was sex education but not called that.

A 'Human Sexuality' expert was paid to take the classes. Her classes were not from a text book. She spoke first of the biology, the hormone cycle and its emotional impact, the physical details of sexual intercourse, then she spoke of relationships, disease, everything heterosexual, and had an excellent rapport, allowed questions and answered everything without put downs or amazement. She was very matter of fact and good.

As one of the two girls who became pregnant had never been given any sex education, and had no idea why, or how, she became pregnant, and there were many other girls like that, whose mothers could not talk about sex at all, those classes probably saved another pregnancy or two.