Sex-education - A series of lectures concerning knowledge of sex in its - relation to human life
by Maurice Alpheus Bigelow
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- Transcriber's Note: Inconsistent hyphenation in the original document has been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. For a complete list, please see the end of this document. -

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Set up and electrotyped. Published June, 1916.

Norwood Press J.S. Cushing Co.—Berwick & Smith Co. Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.






Many of the lectures printed in this volume have formed the basis of a series given at Teachers College, Columbia University, during the summer sessions of 1914 and 1915, and during the academic year 1914-1915. Others were addressed to parents, to groups of men, to women's clubs, and to conferences on sex-education. In order to avoid extensive repetition, there has been some combination and rearrangement of lectures that originally were addressed to groups of people with widely different outlooks on the sexual problems.

Several years ago the late Dr. Prince A. Morrow announced that a volume dealing with many of the timely topics of sex-education was to be prepared by the undersigned with the advice and criticism of a committee of the American Federation for Sex-Hygiene; but even before Dr. Morrow's death it became evident that this plan was impracticable. Three members (Morrow, Balliet, Bigelow) of the original committee collaborated in a report presented at the XV International Congress on Hygiene and Demography. Since that time the writer, working independently, has found it desirable to reorganize completely the original outline announced by Dr. Morrow.

In accordance with a declaration made voluntarily in a conversation with Dr. Morrow, the author considers himself pledged to devote all royalties from this book to the movement for sex-education.

Among the many persons to whom is due acknowledgment of helpfulness in the preparation of this book, the author is especially indebted for suggestions to the late Dr. Prince A. Morrow, to Dr. William F. Snow, Secretary of the American Social Hygiene Association, and to Dr. Edward L. Keyes, Jr., President of the Society of Sanitary and Moral Prophylaxis; for constructive criticism, to his colleagues, Professor Jean Broadhurst and Miss Caroline E. Stackpole, of Teachers College, who have read carefully both the original lectures and the completed manuscript; and to Olive Crosby Whitin (Mrs. Frederick H. Whitin), executive secretary of the Society of Sanitary and Moral Prophylaxis, who has suggested and criticized helpfully both as a reader of the manuscript and as an auditor of many of the lectures delivered at Teachers College.






Sec. 1. Sex-education and its relation to sex-hygiene and social hygiene. Sec. 2. The misunderstanding of sex. Sec. 3. The need of sex-instruction. Sec. 4. The scope of sex-education.


Sec. 5. Sex problems and the need of special knowledge. Sec. 6. First problem: Personal sex-hygiene. Sec. 7. Second problem: Social diseases. Sec. 8. Third problem: Social evil. Sec. 9. Fourth problem: Illegitimacy. Sec. 10. Fifth problem: Sexual morality. Sec. 11. Sixth problem: Sexual vulgarity. Sec. 12. Seventh problem: Marriage. Sec. 13. Eighth Problem: Eugenics. Sec. 14. Summary.


Sec. 15. The task of sex-education. Sec. 16. The aims of sex-education. Sec. 17. The aims as the basis of organized sex-instruction.


Sec. 18. Who should give sex-instruction? Sec. 19. The child's first teachers of sex-knowledge. Sec. 20. Selecting teachers for class instruction. Sec. 21. Certain undesirable teachers for special hygienic and ethical instruction.


Sec. 22. Value and danger of special sex-books for young people. Sec. 23. General literature and sex problems. Sec. 24. Dangers in literature on sexual abnormality.


Sec. 25. Elementary instruction and influence. Sec. 26. Hygienic and educational treatment of unhealthful habits.


Sec. 27. The biological foundations. Sec. 28. Scientific facts for boys. Sec. 29. Scientific facts for girls.


Sec. 30. Developing attitude towards womanhood. Sec. 31. Developing ideals of love and marriage. Sec. 32. Reasons for pre-marital continence. Sec. 33. Essential knowledge concerning prostitution. Sec. 34. Need of refinement of men. Sec. 35. Dancing as a sex problem for men. Sec. 36. Dress of women as a sex problem for men. Sec. 37. The problem of self-control for young men. Sec. 38. The mental side of a young man's sexual life.


Sec. 39. The young woman's attitude towards manhood. Sec. 40. The young woman's attitude towards love and marriage. Sec. 41. Reasons for pre-marital continence of young women. Sec. 42. Need of optimistic and aesthetic views of sex by women. Sec. 43. Other problems for young women.


Sec. 44. A plea for reticence—Agnes Repplier. Sec. 45. A plea for religious approach—Cosmo Hamilton. Sec. 46. The conflict between sex-hygiene and sex-ethics—Richard Cabot Sec. 47. The arrogance of the advocates of sex-education—William H. Maxwell. Sec. 48. Lubricity in education—W.H. Taft. Sec. 49. Conclusions from the criticisms of sex-education.


Sec. 50. The American movement. Sec. 51. Important steps. Sec. 52. The future of the larger sex-education.





Sec. 1. Sex-education and Its Relation to Sex-hygiene and Social Hygiene

[Sidenote: Definition of sex-education.]

Sex-education in its largest sense includes all scientific, ethical, social, and religious instruction and influence which directly and indirectly may help young people prepare to solve for themselves the problems of sex that inevitably come in some form into the life of every normal human individual. Note the carefully guarded phrase "help young people prepare to solve for themselves the problems of sex", for, like education in general, special sex-education cannot possibly do more than help the individual prepare to face the problems of life.

[Sidenote: More than sex-hygiene.]

Now, sex-education as thus defined is more extensive than sex-hygiene, which term was originally applied to instruction concerning sex. Sex-hygiene obviously refers to health as influenced by sexual processes, and as such it is a convenient subdivision of the science of health. It would be quite satisfactory as a name for popular instruction concerning sex if that were strictly, or even primarily, hygienic; but in a later lecture it will be shown that the most desirable sex-instruction is only in a minor part a problem of hygiene. I realize that this statement may be declared heretical by many of the present-day advocates of sex-hygiene, because they have approached this latest educational movement from the standpoint of physical health, and especially because their attention has been drawn to the very common occurrence of pathological conditions. Nevertheless, the sexual problems of our times do not all affect physical health, which hygiene aims to conserve; and the sex-educational movement will be quite inadequate without great stress upon certain ethical, social, and other aspects of sex. Young people need instruction that relates not only to health but also to attitude and to morals as these three are influenced by sexual instincts and relationships. This idea will be developed later, but I anticipate here simply to suggest the point of view of the statement that "sex-hygiene" is altogether too limited as a general designation for the desirable instruction concerning sex. The continued use of the term "sex-hygiene," now that the scope of the desirable sex-instruction has been extended far beyond the accepted limits of the science of health, is tending to cause confusion. The educational problems will be more definite and the support of the intelligent public more assured if we limit the use of "sex-hygiene" to the specific problems of health as affected by sexual processes and cease trying to make it include those phases of sex-instruction which have nothing directly to do with health.

Two general terms, "sex-instruction" and "sex-education," are available as all-inclusive designations of the desirable instruction concerning any aspects of sex. They are quite free from the above objections to "sex-hygiene," and it is highly desirable that they should be used in all educational discussions where there is no specific reference to the problems of health. Sex-hygiene will be used in these lectures only when there is some direct reference to health as influenced by the sexual functions.

[Sidenote: Social hygiene.]

Social hygiene in its complete sense means the great general movement for the improvement of the conditions of life in all lines in which there is social ill health or need of social reform; but it is often limited to the sexual aspect of the unfortunate and unfavorable conditions of life, and it has been proposed to adopt the term "social hygiene" as a substitute that avoids the word "sex" in sex-hygiene. For this reason it has been incorporated into the names of several societies that are interested in sex-hygiene (e.g., the American Social Hygiene Association). Probably the relation of sex-hygiene to the so-called "social evil" has suggested the use of social hygiene in its most limited sense. It will be unfortunate if this usage becomes so prominent that we think of the health problems of society as chiefly sexual, for the larger outlook of Ellis's "Task of Social Hygiene" is desirable. Likewise, the phrase "social evil" in the sense of sexual evil misleadingly suggests that the only evil of society is the sexual one, but this evasive designation is being supplanted by the more definite and franker word "prostitution."

It should be noted that "social hygiene" as a substitute for "sex-hygiene" is narrower in that it does not include the personal problems of health as affected by sexual processes. This is a serious omission, for certainly all sex-hygiene taught before the later adolescent years should be personal and not social.

[Sidenote: Phases of sex-education.]

The relation of sex-hygiene or social hygiene as a limited phase of sex-education is shown by the following outline:

{ sex-hygiene (personal, for sexual health { social) { { biology (including for attitude { physiology) of regarding sex, { reproduction and for important { scientific facts { In the broadest { heredity and eugenics for sexual conduct outlook, sex-education { leading to race (or sex-instruction) { improvement includes: { { ethics and sociology for sexual conduct { of sex { { psychology of sex for sexual health { and conduct { { aesthetics of sex for attitude

[Sidenote: Sex and reproduction.]

Since the original purpose of sex was perpetuation of plant and animal species, and since in the study of biology the idea of sex is illustrated and developed by examination of the reproductive processes in various types, it has been customary for many writers on sex-education to use the terms "sex" and "reproduction" as if they were synonymous. This is no longer so in human life; for while reproduction is a sexual process, sexual activities and influences are often quite unrelated to reproduction. In fact, most of the big problems that have made sex-education desirable, if not necessary, are problems of sex apart from reproduction. It therefore seems clear that, while studies of reproduction are prominent in sex-education, they should be regarded as introductory to the problems of sex, especially for young people.

Sec. 2. The Misunderstanding of Sex

[Sidenote: Objection to word "sex."]

Some educators have expressed the wish that some one might suggest a satisfactory substitute for the terms "sex-hygiene" and "sex-education," omitting the word "sex." This word and its companion "sexual" are objectionable because they are associated in the minds of most people with vulgar interpretation of the physical aspects of the beginning of individual life, and much of the opposition to the proposed sex-instruction in home and schools is evidently based on the feeling that the very word "sex" involves something inherently vulgar.

[Sidenote: Definite words necessary.]

It is probable that many decades will pass before the majority of intelligent people cease to feel that the words "sex" and "sexual" have had such vulgar associations that they should be kept out of our everyday vocabulary, but I can see no hope of developing an improved attitude towards the sexual aspect of human life if we continue to admit that we are afraid of the necessary words. It seems to me that in one decade there has been a great advance in that the scientific writers and speakers on problems of sex have been using words which definitely and directly express the desired meanings, and have avoided the suggestive circumlocutions which characterize many modern realistic novels. One who does not already appreciate the serious impressiveness of cold scientific language in discussion of sexual problems should take one of the indecently suggestive paragraphs from stories in the most notoriously vulgar of the fifteen-cent magazines, and translate the meaning of the paragraph into direct and definite words. The result will be complete loss of the stealthy suggestiveness which has made concealed sexuality so dangerously attractive to the type of mind that revels in the modern sex-problem novels. We want no such suggestive concealment in a scheme of sex-education, for it aims at a purer and higher understanding of sex in human life. We must have direct and definite and dignified scientific language, and among the necessary words none are as essential as "sex" and "sexual." We must use them freely if attitude towards sex is to be improved; and their dignified and scientific usage will gradually dispel the embarrassment which many unfortunate people now experience when these words remind them that the perpetuation of life in all its higher forms has been intrusted to the cooperation of two kinds, or sexes, of individuals.

Thus viewing the objections which have been raised against the use of the word "sex" in the educational movement, I have shifted my first stand with the opposition until now I favor the frank and dignified use of this and similar words on appropriate occasions. I believe that those interested in the search for solutions of the vital problems of sex should quietly but systematically work to include the words "sex" and "sexual" in the dignified and scientific vocabulary needed by all people to express the newer and nobler interpretations of the relationships between men and women.

[Sidenote: No "sex" studies.]

Of course, this does not mean that sex, either as a word or as a fact of nature, should be over-emphasized with people who are too young to appreciate the fundamental facts of life. As already suggested, it is not desirable that any parts of the curricula for schools should be known to the pupils as "sex" studies; but we need such terms as "sex-hygiene" and "sex-instruction" to indicate to teachers and parents that certain parts of the education of the children are being directed towards a healthy, natural and wholesome relation to sex.

[Sidenote: "Sex" and "love."]

It is absurd to suppose that the free, dignified, and scientific use of the word "sex" is going to make people more sensual, more uncontrolled, and more immoral. There is much more reason for fearing the free use of the word "love," which has both psychical and physical meanings so confused that often only the context of sentences enables one to determine which meaning is intended. In fact, many writers and speakers seek to avoid all possible misunderstanding by using the word "affection" for psychical love. Now, in spite of such confusion, and the fact that to many people the word "love" in connection with sex suggests only gross sensuality, we continue to use it freely and it is one of the first words taught to children. Why then do we not hear protests against using the word "love"? Simply because we have been from childhood accustomed to the word, first in its psychical sense, and it is only later that most of us have learned that it has a sensual meaning to some people. In short, familiarity with the word "love" in its psychical sense has bred in us a contempt for those who mistake the physical basis of love for love in its combined physical and psychical completeness.

[Sidenote: Meaning of sex.]

To many it is surprising to find that the word "sex" has never been used in such degraded connections as has the word "love," and that it has not been half so much misunderstood. There is no obvious vulgarity in the lexicographer's definitions of the word "sex." It simply means, as the science of biology points out so clearly, that the perpetuation of human life, and of most other species of life, has been intrusted to pairs of individuals which are of the two kinds commonly called the sexes, male and female. Why nature determined that each new life in the vast majority of species should develop from two other lives has long been a biological puzzle, and most satisfactory of the answers given is that bi-parental origin of new individuals allows for new combinations of heritable qualities from two lines of descent. However, such a biological explanation of the relation of the two sexes to double parentage is of relatively little practical significance in present-day human life when compared with the fact that out of the necessity for life's perpetuation by two cooperating individuals there has grown psychical or spiritual love with all its splendid possibilities that are evident in ideal family life. Moreover, the influence of sex in human life has extended far beyond the family (that is, that group of individuals who stand related to one another as husband, wife, parents, and children), for it is a careless observer indeed who does not note in our daily life many social and psychical relationships of men and women who have no mutual interests relating to the biological processes of race perpetuation. Of course, the psychologist recognizes that far back of the platonic contact of the sexes on social and intellectual lines is the suppressed and primal instinct that provides physical unions for race perpetuation. However, this is of no practical interest, for, as a matter of fact, the primal instincts are quite subconscious in the usual social relations between the sexes.

[Sidenote: The larger view of sex.]

There is grandeur in this view of sex as originally a provision for perpetuation of life by two cooperating individuals, later becoming the basis of conjugal affection of the two individuals for each other and of their parental affection for their offspring, and finally leading to social and intellectual comradeship of men and women meeting on terms which are practically free from the original and biological meaning of sex.

Instead, then, of trying to keep sex, both word and fact, in the background of the new educational movement, I believe it is best to work definitely for a better understanding of the part which sex plays in human life, as outlined in the preceding paragraph. Hence, in these lectures I shall never go aside in order to avoid either the word or the idea of sex; on the contrary, I shall attempt to direct the discussion so as to emphasize the larger and very modern view of the relationship of sex and human life.

[Sidenote: The many-sided bearings of sex.]

In this first lecture I want to make it clear that the role of sex in human life is vastly greater than that directly involved in sexual activity. I shall in several lectures touch the big problems from the standpoint of the sexual instincts as these play an important part in social, psychical, and aesthetic life even if they are rarely exercised, physiologically, or if, as in millions of individuals, they never come to mean more than possibilities of sexual activity for which opportunities in marriage do not come. I am especially anxious to avoid the narrow viewpoint of numerous writers on sex-hygiene who seem to overlook the fact that sexual functioning is only a prominent incident in the cycle of sexual influences in the lives of most people. Human life, and especially marriage, should no longer be regarded from the mere biological point of view as for the sole purpose of reproductive activity. It is a far more uplifting view that the conscious or unconscious existence of the sexual instincts, with or without occasional activity, affords the fundamental physical basis for states of mind that may profoundly affect the whole course of life in every normal man and woman.

Supplementary to this section on the "Misunderstanding of Sex," I suggest the reading of Chapters I-VI of "Sex" by Geddes and Thomson, the "Problems of Sex" by the same authors, and Chapter VI in "The Wonder of Life" by Thomson.

Sec. 3. The Need of Sex-Instruction

[Sidenote: The old silence and the new enlightenment.]

The time-honored policy has been one of silence and mystery concerning all things sexual. Everything in that line has long been considered impure and degraded and, therefore, the less said and the less known, the better, especially for young people. Such has been the almost universal attitude of parents until within the present century, when many have awakened to the fact that the policy of silence has been a gigantic failure, because it has not preserved purity and innocence and because it has allowed grave evils, both hygienic and moral, to develop under the cloak of secrecy.

[Sidenote: Children will not remain ignorant.]

"I don't believe in teaching my boys and girls any facts concerning sex. I prefer to keep them innocent until they have grown up." In these decisive words a prominent woman closed a statement of her firm conviction that the world-wide movement for the sex-instruction of young people is a stupendous mistake. Poor deluded mother! How does she expect to keep her children ignorant of the world of life around them? Is she planning to transplant them to a deserted island where they may grow up innocently? Or is she going to keep the children in some cloister within whose walls there will be immunity from the contamination of the great busy world outside? Or is she going to have them guarded like crown princes, and if so, where are absolutely safe guards to be found? Such are the questions which rush into the minds of those who have studied the problem of keeping children ignorant of the most significant facts of life. It is usually an easy matter to protect children against smallpox and typhoid and some other diseases, but no parent or educator has yet found out how we may be sure to keep real live children ignorant of sex knowledge. They seem to absorb such forbidden facts as naturally and as freely as the air they breathe. Ask any large group of representative men—ministers, or doctors, or teachers, or men of business, or the world's toilers—whether any of them knew the essential facts of sexual life before they were twelve years of age, and ninety-seven in every hundred will answer quickly in the affirmative. Ask any large group of women, excepting those whose girlhood has been guarded with exceptional care, and the overwhelming majority will acknowledge that they knew the essential facts before they were fifteen years old. Once more, ask these same men and women whether their early knowledge of sex came from pure and reliable sources or from vulgar playmates and depraved servants; and with rare exceptions it is found that vulgarity made the strongest impression in the first lessons concerning the great facts of life. Such being the truth, it is nonsense for parents to sit in complacency because they feel sure that their children are safely protected against any vulgar first lessons concerning sex; for no one can know that children are safely guarded from others who may corrupt their innocent minds. As an illustration, a few years ago the mothers of a group of little girls in one of the best-managed private schools felt that with careful supervision both in school and home there was no danger of forbidden knowledge reaching the children. But one day a new pupil innocently exhibited to her mother a miniature notebook with unprintable notes on sexual topics. The resulting investigation revealed a secret club organized by the pupils for the purpose of passing to each member through notebooks all newly acquired information, which had a peculiar value because it must be kept secret from teachers and parents. That club had been in existence during two school years. This is only a sample case of many which have proved that if children are allowed the freedom that developing individuality demands, their mothers must not feel too sure that their darlings are protected against knowledge of life, and perhaps of life in its most degraded aspects.

[Sidenote: The vital question for parents.]

Here, then, is the fact that every parent should ponder seriously: Normal children are almost certain to get sexual information not later than the early adolescent years, and usually from unreliable and vulgar sources. It is, therefore, not a question whether children of school ages should be taught the important facts of sex, but whether parents and trained teachers rather than playmates and other unreliable persons should be the instructors. Which will parents choose for their own children? Thousands of intelligent parents have already faced this question, and have decided that their children shall have early sex-instruction in home or school or both in order that there will be little danger of vulgar impressions taking a deep hold on child minds.

Granted, then, that children should be given some reliable instruction concerning things sexual, who should be the teacher, what should be taught, and when should the instruction be given? These are the fundamental questions now being considered by the parents and educators who have accepted sex-education as necessary. Upon the final answers to such questions the decision of many parents will depend. I shall attempt to answer them in later lectures.

[Sidenote: Sex mystery has prevented progress.]

The policy of maintaining mystery and secrecy concerning sex has failed with adults even more sadly than with children. Health and morals have suffered incalculable injury. The sexual evils of our time are not as bad as were those of the ancient civilizations, but we have little reason to be proud of the slight progress made. But why should we expect the human to make progress when sexual problems have been kept in darkness? The wonder is that, with the prevailing dark outlook on sexual life throughout the past nineteen centuries, the world has not developed more sexual vice. Innate animalistic appetites have tended to lead downward, and surely the policy of silence has offered no counteracting influence towards higher living. While religion and ethics, by means of certain rules of conduct, have maintained certain sexual standards, they have not kept vast numbers of humans from falling far below those standards into utter degradation. The modern teachers of religion and ethics have prevented general sexual degradation, but they have failed to give human sexuality any decided uplift. The reason for this failure is the policy of mystery and silence. The teachers of religion and ethics have preferred to let general and more or less abstruse rules govern conduct in sexual lines. Until recent years there have been few sermons in which common sexual problems have been presented so that the preacher's meaning has been clear to all. On the contrary, there has been universal mystery and evasion concerning the greatest facts of life.

[Sidenote: Sexual instincts offer no guidance.]

Many people have justified the mystery thrown around sexual processes on the theory that the reproductive instincts of mature people are sufficient guides for conduct. This involves a misunderstanding of sexual instincts of the higher mammals which are often unscientifically cited as models for human imitation. In these animals sexual union is instinctively determined, because normally the sexual hunger or excitement of both sexes is stimulated and controlled by the physiological condition of the female at the times favorable for fertilization (i.e., at the oestrual periods). For example, a pair of dogs living in close companionship show signs of mutual sexual desires only for a few days at the semi-annual oestrual or fertile periods of the female. It occasionally happens that the males of various wild and domesticated mammals exhibit signs of automatic sexual excitement (i.e., not caused by the stimulus arising from the physiological condition of the female); but in such cases of male excitement outside of the mating or oestrual periods, the normal females invariably offer instinctive opposition to attempted union by abnormally or automatically excited males. Thus, directly and indirectly, there is instinctive control and limitation of sexual union among the animals that are most closely related to the human race.

It is biologically possible that similar conditions may have existed in the earliest human life, but that is pure speculation and has no bearing on the practical problems of sex in human life to-day. The fact is that the simple physiological stimuli which produce sexual excitement in both sexes of animals have practically no influence in determining human sexual union. On the contrary, memory associations consciously connected with the opposite sex, especially those associations that are centered in affection, may at any time in the normal individual of either human sex afford the basis for a chain of mental states leading to sexual excitement and union. There is not, as in the animals, instinctive dependence on the physiological conditions that are favorable for fertilization. In fact, spontaneous physiological demands play in civilized human life a minor part in initiating sexual excitement. The reason why some humans seem to have unusual sexual intensity is not so much a matter of exceptionally strong sexuality as of susceptibility to the numerous sexual stimuli with which modern life abounds. For this reason, a man who has formed lewd memory associations is more susceptible to sexual stimulations, e.g., by obscene pictures, vulgar words, unusual dress or actions of women, close physical association as in dancing, and certain forms of music. It is not at all uncommon that individuals who are hyper-sensitive to sexually suggestive stimuli are really functionally weak.

[Sidenote: Intelligent control only.]

It follows from the facts outlined above that instinctive control of sexual actions applies to animals but not to human life. On the contrary, human control must be on the basis of intelligent choice. This means the greatest task of human life, for it requires voluntary control of instinctive demands which are intensified by numerous stimuli or temptations that are exclusively human. No wonder that natural sex hunger left uncontrolled leads human beings to excesses and degradation that no species of animals with their guiding instincts could possibly reach.

[Sidenote: Individual responsibility.]

The absence from human life of any instinctive control of sexual actions leaves a great responsibility on each individual whose natural desires lead impulsively and insistently towards sexual union and must be restrained, controlled, and directed by voluntary choice. In short, all individuals who are intelligent beings are personally responsible for voluntary control of their sexual desires with reference to the ethical, social, and eugenic interests and rights of all other individuals now and in the future.

[Sidenote: Sexual knowledge necessary.]

With such an understanding of instincts in relation to human sexual actions, we cannot wonder that the old policy of mystery has failed so completely. Since human beings are left to control the most powerful appetite by intelligence, it is evident that a policy based on silence, ignorance, and mystery must fail. The only safe and sure road to the needed control of sexual actions is to be found in knowledge, and the widespread recognition of this fact has led to the new movement for general enlightenment regarding sexual processes in their various relations to human life.

[Sidenote: Education as a solution of sex problems.]

It is not surprising that we have turned to seek an educational solution for the problems of sex. Education has become the modern panacea for many of our ills—hygienic, industrial, political, and social. We have found people losing health for various reasons and we have proposed hygienic instruction as a prophylactic. We have analyzed many problems of the industries, and now we are beginning to seek their solution in industrial education. We have noted that numerous social and political misunderstandings check progress of individuals and nations, and we are coming to think the pathway upwards is to be found in better knowledge of social and political science. And, in like manner, in every phase of this modern life of ours we are looking to knowledge as the key to all significant problems. It is truly the age of education, not simply the education offered in schools and colleges, but education in the larger sense, including the learning of useful knowledge from all sources whatsoever.

With such unbounded confidence in the all-sufficiency of education, it is most natural that we should turn to it in these times when we have come to realize the existence of amazing sexual problems caused either by ignorant misuse, or by deliberate abuse, of the sexual functions which biologically are intrusted with the perpetuation of human life and which psychologically are the source of human affection in its supreme forms. If education is to solve the civic, hygienic, and industrial problems of to-day and to-morrow, why should it not also help with the age-old sexual evils? So reasoning, we have naturally turned to education as one, but not the only, method of attack on the sexual problems which have degraded and devitalized human life of all past times, but which somehow have kept out of the limelight of publicity until our own times.

Sec. 4. The Scope of Sex-education

[Sidenote: Sex-education is not primarily for schools.]

It is well to make clear in this first lecture that no one proposes to limit sex-instruction to schools and colleges. We may safely leave mathematics and writing and even reading to schools, but sex-education will fail unless the schools can get the cooperation of the homes, the churches, the Y.M.C.A., the Y.W.C.A., the W.C.T.U., the Boy Scouts, the Camp Fire Girls, and other organizations which aim to reach young people socially, religiously, and ethically. The part which these have already taken in the sex-education movement is in the aggregate far more important than what the schools have been able to accomplish. Sex-education, then, should be understood as including all serious instruction—no matter where or when or by whom given—which aims to help young people face the problems that normal sexual processes bring to every life.

[Sidenote: Sex-instruction impossible in most homes.]

In a later lecture I shall urge the importance of beginning sex-instruction in the home. There are some parents who wish that it were possible not only to begin but also to end it there, for they fear that public instruction will lead to a weakening of a certain sense of reserve and privacy that has long been considered sacred to the best family life. Perhaps this has some truth, but we must remember that only in rare homes are there such ideal relationships of parents to each other and to their offspring that matters of sex are sacred to the family circle. The fact which parents and educators must face is that there are now relatively few homes in which there is one parent able to begin the elementary instruction of young children; and, therefore, as a practical matter for the best interests of the vast majority of young people, we must consider ways and means for instruction outside of most homes. This need not interfere in the least with the parents who are able and willing to give sex-instruction to the children, for the home instruction will naturally anticipate that which the schools must give for the pupils who are not properly instructed at home. It seems to me to be a situation like that of children learning to read at home and later continuing reading at school. Sex-instruction begun at home will form the child's attitude and give him some elementary information, and later he may profitably learn more in the same lines in the class work of school, especially in connection with science instruction for which few homes have facilities. Moreover, it is quite possible that one instructed at home in childhood may gain from later school instruction something of great social value, for we must remember that the problems of sex which most demand attention are not individual, but social. Hence, it may be worth while for the home-instructed individual to learn through class instruction that people outside the home look seriously upon knowledge concerning sexual processes, and that every individual's life must be adjusted to other lives, that is, to society.

Summarizing, it appears that however desirable home instruction regarding sex may be, the majority of parents are not able and willing to undertake the work, and so the public educational system and organizations for social and religious work should provide a scheme of instruction which will make sure that all young people will have an opportunity to get the most helpful information for the guidance of their lives.

[Sidenote: Caution in school instruction.]

[Sidenote: Parents' co-operation.]

In order to gain the serious attention of those who believe themselves unalterably opposed to school instruction regarding things sexual, I anticipate a later discussion and mention in this connection that there must be great caution in all attempts at school teaching that directly touches human sexual life. It would be a dangerous experiment to introduce sex-instruction into all schools by sudden legislation. There must be specially trained teachers of selected personality and tact. No existing high school has enough such teachers, and in the grammar schools where the pupils are at the age when proper instruction would influence them most, the problem of general class instruction is absolutely unsolved. Only here and there in schools below the high school has a teacher or principal of rare quality made satisfactory experimental teaching. So uncertain are we at present regarding how we should approach the problem of teaching grammar-school children that the only safe advice for general use is that teachers, or preferably principals, should begin with parents' conferences led by one who is a conservative expert on sex-instruction. Were I principal of a school with pupils from, say, two hundred and fifty homes, I should begin at once to organize conferences designed to awaken the parents to the need of sex-instruction for their children, and to the importance of making at least a beginning in the homes. I should expect, according to the experience of others, that of the five hundred parents, two hundred mothers and fifty fathers would take an interest in the conferences, and that at least one hundred fathers too busy for meetings would approve heartily after hearing reports from their wives. Thus, I should try to reach the majority of homes represented in my school. I should be in no hurry to introduce class instruction—I mean instruction related directly to human life; but, of course, I should encourage my teachers to emphasize the life-histories of animals and plants in the nature-study, and so lay in the pupils' minds a firm foundation for later connection between human life and all life. At the same time, I should keep my teachers on the lookout for individual pupils or groups that might need special attention and, if such be found, I should seek the cooperation of their parents. And finally, after a year or two of co-working with parents, I should hope to get permission for special talks based on nature-study and hygiene. These talks should first be given to limited groups of pupils, preferably in the presence of some parents who are interested and who have given their children some home instruction. Working along such conservative lines, I believe a tactful principal of a grammar school might succeed in developing much of the needed instruction for pre-adolescent pupils.

[Sidenote: Instruction in high schools.]

With regard to high-school pupils, we should remember that nine-tenths of the desirable information is already included in the biology of our best high schools. The remaining tenth is that which connects all life with human life; and this requires tact and exceptional skill. However, the high schools no longer offer an insoluble problem, for many teachers have succeeded in giving the desirable instruction to the satisfaction of critical principals and parents.

[Sidenote: Sex-education from early childhood to maturity.]

There is a widespread impression that sex-instruction should begin with the approach of adolescence and soon be completed. This idea is often expressed by parents and even by prominent educators who say that the father or teacher ought "to take the boy of thirteen aside and tell him some things he ought to know." Still others have the same point of view when they advocate that a physician should be called for a lecture to high-school boys. In fact, most people who have not seriously studied the problems of sex-education seem to believe that one concentrated dose of sex-instruction in adolescent years is sufficient guidance for young people.

Such limited personal instruction might suffice if sex-education were limited to sex-hygiene. A few hygienic commands in pre-adolescent years and one impressive talk in early puberty might teach the boy or girl how not to interfere with health; but it is improbable that such brief instruction will make a permanent impression which will insure hygienic practice of the precepts laid down. If we hold that sex-hygiene is important, then it must be drilled into the learner from several points of view. An isolated lesson on any topic of general hygiene is of very doubtful efficiency.

[Sidenote: Brief instruction does not fix attitude.]

The most important reason why sex-instruction should not be concentrated in a short period of youth is that it is impossible to exert the most desirable influence upon health, attitude, and morals except by instruction beginning in early childhood and graded for each period of life up to maturity. Most young people who in early adolescence receive their first lessons from parents and teachers have already had their attitude formed by their playmates. Even their morals may become corrupted and their health irreparably injured several years before puberty. The only sure pathway to health, attitude, and morals is in beginning with young children and instructing them as gradually as the problems of sex come forward.

[Sidenote: Sex-instruction after youth.]

The greatest possible good of sex-education will not be secured if it stops with early adolescent years. There are many problems of sex in relation to society, particularly in relation to monogamic marriage, that young people should be led to consider in the late teens and early twenties. Our sex-education system will not be completely organized until we find ways and means for carrying the instruction by lectures, conferences, and books beyond the years commonly occupied by public-school education. Colleges and other higher educational institutions may contribute somewhat to this advanced sex-instruction; but obviously the great majority of maturing young people cannot be reached personally except by instruction arranged in churches, the Y.M.C.A., and the Y.W.C.A., evening schools, and other such institutions. In many respects this proposed instruction for maturing young people is of very great importance and deserves encouragement such as has not yet been given by those who have written and lectured in favor of a movement for sex-education of young people.

[Sidenote: The larger sex-education.]

In conclusion of this introductory lecture, let me say that I have tried to suggest in a general survey that sex-education in its largest outlook touches great problems of life in very many ways. I have also tried to convince that it is far more than merely a school subject, limited entirely to a curriculum extended over a few years. This is the common misunderstanding arising from the familiar use of the word "education." As opposed to this narrow conception, I understand sex-education, the larger sex-education, to be a collective term designating all organized effort, both in and out of schools, toward instructing and influencing young people with regard to the problems of sex. Here we have returned to the central thought of the definition with which this lecture opened, and which I emphasize because it is the foundation of all future lectures: The larger sex-education includes all scientific, ethical, social, and religious instruction and influence which in any way may help young people prepare to meet the problems of life in relation to sex.



Sec. 5. Sex Problems and the Need of Special Knowledge

[Sidenote: Arguments for sex-education.]

In these lectures I shall discuss the great sex problems towards the solution of which knowledge conveyed by special education may help. These problems offer reasons or arguments in favor of sex-education, and I shall attempt to present them from this point of view. I shall at the same time point out in preliminary outline how organized instruction may apply more or less directly to the sex problems that seem to show the need of educational attack, but in later lectures the organization of instruction will be considered more specifically.

[Sidenote: Propagandism needed.]

In reviewing the literature that during the past decade has advocated sex-education, it has seemed to me that there is left little possibility of any decidedly new and important contribution to the arguments favoring such instruction, for the whole case has been splendidly presented by eminent writers in the fields of medicine, biology, sociology, and ethics. It now appears that the great majority of educators, scientists, and intelligent citizens in general have accepted the arguments for sex-instruction, so far as they have been informed concerning the meaning and need of the movement; and this leads me to the belief that in the future we need not new arguments but frequent restatements of the established facts which indicate the importance of widespread knowledge regarding the function that is inseparably connected with the perpetuation of life. In short, we now need a propagandism for extending the sex-education movement among the masses of people.

For those who have already accepted sex-education, a survey of the facts that created a demand for sex-instruction will give a clearer outlook on the movement. The rapid increase of interest in sex-education has been the result of widespread dissemination of convincing facts concerning some common disharmonies that grow out of the sexual problems of the human race. These facts which have led to sex-education should be kept in mind by all who wish to understand or to play a part in the instruction of young people.

It is quite unnecessary, and still more undesirable, to recite at length in these lectures the social, medical, and psycho-pathological facts concerning abnormal or perverted sexual processes. Fortunately, the educational ends may be gained by a general review that points out the bearings of the main lines of the sexual problems, the misunderstandings and mistakes that education may help prevent and correct.

[Sidenote: Parents should know reasons for sex-instruction.]

It is important that the general public, especially the parents, should understand the reasons which have induced numerous physicians, ministers, and educators to become active advocates of systematic sex-instruction for young people. Although the movement has made extensive progress in the ten years of propagandic work, is probably true that the majority of even intelligent parents are not yet convinced that their children need sex-instruction. This is due largely to the fact that the parents have not yet been shown the reasons why it is now, and always has been, unsafe to allow children to gain more or less sexual information from unreliable and vulgar sources. In fact, it is surprising to find many parents, especially mothers, who seem unable to grasp the idea that their "protected" children can possibly get impure information.

There are other parents who know that their children are almost sure to get vulgar information regarding sexual matters, and that some young people are likely to make sexual mistakes; but they calmly look upon such things as part of the established order of the world.

Still another type of parents who should know the reasons for sex-instruction are those who accept the traditional idea that their daughters must be kept "protected" and "innocent" while their sons are free to sow a large field of "wild oats," concerning which society in general, and such parents in particular, will care little as long as social diseases, bastardy suits, or chronic alcoholism do not result from the dissipations. These are the fathers and mothers who need the most enlightenment concerning the importance of such sex-instruction as will make clear the far-reaching consequences of "wild oat sowing." Perhaps most such parents are ignorant, but some are simply thoughtless. As an illustration of the latter, the editor of a well-known magazine was recently talking with a prominent author and made some reference to the immoral habits of young men. Their conversation was essentially as follows: The author remarked, "I assume that my boys will be boys and will have their fling before they settle down and marry." The editor quickly replied, "Yes, and I presume that you expect your boys to sow their wild oats with my daughters, and that in return you will expect my sons to dissipate with your daughters. At any rate, you have damnable designs on somebody's daughters." This put on the wild-oat proposition a light which was apparently new to the literary man, for he replied, "That is a phase of the young man's problem which never occurred to me. It does sound startling when stated in that personal way."

All these classes of parents who have not yet learned the facts which point to ignorance as the cause of the abundant sexual errors of young people and those who do not understand that sexual promiscuity or immorality is an error of gravest significance both to the individual and to society, should have set before them time and again some of the startling facts which in the first five years of the American sex-education movement were promulgated among physicians, ministers, and educators. All such ignorant or indifferent parents will not take an interest in the proposed sex-instruction unless they are convinced by frank and forcible statements regarding the great need of special safeguarding of young people.

[Sidenote: Special associations needed.]

Since there are so many people who still need the most elementary knowledge concerning the sexual problems that demand educational attack, it is important that there should be local associations which can manage lectures, publications, conferences, and other means of informing the public as to the gravity of the sexual problems of our times, and as to the part which sex-instruction may play in the attempt at finding a solution. Such work is now being done splendidly by the societies named in Sec. 51. The magnitude of the problem of reaching the public is such that there is abundant work for numerous branches of such societies or for local groups willing to take a part in the needed work. As suggested elsewhere, the success of the movement for sex-instruction of children of school ages will depend largely upon the attitude and cooperation of parents; and hence it is important that parents should be led to understand the reasons or arguments for sex-instruction. In other words, they should know the problems that indicate the importance of enlightening the rising generation concerning the great facts of sex and life.

[Sidenote: Books for parents.]

Among the numerous publications that seem to me adapted for convincing parents that their children need instruction, I commonly mention the following: Lowry's "False Modesty" and "Teaching Sex Hygiene," Howard's "Start your Child Right," Wile's "Sex Education," Galloway's "Biology of Sex," March's "Towards Racial Health," Lyttleton's "Training of the Young in Laws of Sex," and pamphlets by Dr. Prince Morrow. See also pages 241-243.

[Sidenote: Knowledge needed concerning eight sex problems.]

There are eight important sex problems of our times that offer reasons or arguments for sex-instruction, because ignorance plays a large part in each problem. I shall state them briefly here and discuss each in succeeding lectures: (1) Many people, especially in youth, need hygienic knowledge concerning sexual processes as they affect personal health. (2) There is an alarming amount of the dangerous social diseases which are distributed chiefly by the sexual promiscuity or immorality of many men. (3) The uncontrolled sexual passions of men have led to enormous development of organized and commercialized prostitution. (4) There are living to-day tens of thousands of unmarried mothers and illegitimate children, the result of the common sexual irresponsibility of men and the ignorance of women. (5) There is need of more general following of a definite moral standard regarding sexual relationships. (6) There is a prevailing unwholesome attitude of mind concerning all sexual processes. (7) There is very general misunderstanding of sexual life as related to healthy and happy marriage. (8) There is need of eugenic responsibility for sexual actions that concern future generations.

Here are the eight sexual problems of our times. Any one of them has significance great enough to demand the attention of educators and social reformers. One and all they point to the need of better understanding regarding the sexual functions and their relation to life. I shall now turn to outline the main facts concerning each of these sexual problems so far as it seems likely that they will concern educators and social workers. For convenience I shall use the following brief headings: (1) Personal sex-hygiene, (2) social diseases, (3) social evil, (4) illegitimacy, (5) sexual morality, (6) sexual vulgarity, (7) sexual problems and marriage, (8) eugenics.

[Sidenote: Historical order.]

These sexual problems toward whose solution special instruction of young people may help are stated here in the order in which they have attracted attention as reasons for sex-education. Thus, for instance, personal sex-hygiene was the chief reason recognized twenty years ago; social diseases began to attract public attention ten years ago; commercial prostitution has been especially prominent in the discussions of the past five years; and only recently has there been emphasis on sex-education with reference to eugenics.

The historical order which I follow in this lecture is not now the order of greatest importance. For example, sexual morality (5) and vulgarity (6) are probably of far greater significance than any of the other sexual problems that offer arguments for sex-education.

[Sidenote: Not all sex problems concern youth.]

To avoid possible misunderstanding, let me repeat from the first lecture the proposition that sex-education should extend in home and school from childhood to maturity. It follows that these lectures concerning the problems of sex that seriously affect the human race are not all applicable as arguments for instruction in schools or for children of school age. Some of the problems of sex point to the need of special instruction in pre-adolescent or in adolescent years, but some of them concern directly only those who are approaching maturity.

Sec. 6. First Problem for Sex-instruction: Personal Sex-hygiene

[Sidenote: Personal and social hygiene.]

It is convenient to group under personal sex-hygiene all hygienic knowledge concerning sexual processes in their personal as distinguished from their social aspects. The distinction between these two aspects of sex-hygiene is essentially on the same basis as that between personal and public hygiene. For example, indigestion and overwork are matters of personal hygiene, while tuberculosis and typhoid are problems of public hygiene because the individual case leads through infection to disease of others. Similarly, such individual disorders as masturbation and deranged menstruation concern personal health directly, while venereal diseases are clearly included in social sex-hygiene.

[Sidenote: Personal sex-hygiene needed.]

If there were no other reasons for sex-instruction, I believe that it would be worth while to teach such hygienic knowledge of self and sex as would guard young people against harmful habits and unhealthful care of their sexual mechanisms; and which, moreover, would guide them across the threshold of adolescence with some helpful understanding of the significance of the metamorphosis. Many men and women suffer from injured, if not ruined, health because they did not know, especially between ten and fourteen years, the laws of personal sex-hygiene, which concern health in ways not involving sexual relationship. Many boys and some girls are injured both physically and mentally by the habit of masturbation. Numerous girls are injured physically and many mentally because they have not learned in advance the nature and hygiene of menstruation. Many boys are injured both in mind and character because they have no scientific guidance which helps them understand themselves during the stormy transition from youth into manhood. Moreover, there are certain simple hygienic commands that children under twelve should receive from parents and teachers. In all these lines the bearings of personal hygienic instruction are so obvious that we need not at this time stop to consider in more detail this first reason or problem for sex-instruction of young people.

Sec. 7. Second Problem for Sex-instruction: Social Diseases

[Sidenote: Recent publicity regarding vice and disease.]

During the past decade the general public has received some astounding revelations concerning the enormous extent of illicit sexual promiscuity, which is immorality according to our commonly accepted code of morals. Along with the evidence as to the existence of widespread promiscuity, has come the still more alarming information from the medical profession that sexual promiscuity commonly distributes the germs of the two highly infectious and exceedingly destructive diseases, syphilis and gonorrhea, known in medical science as venereal or social. When these are acquired by individuals guilty of sexual promiscuity, they seriously and often fatally affect the victim; but of far greater social-hygienic importance is the medical evidence that they are very often transmitted to persons innocent of any transgression of the moral law, especially to wives and children.

The medical revelations concerning the relation of sexual immorality to the plague of social diseases, has come from certain eminent physicians, notably the late Dr. Prince A. Morrow. His translation of Fournier's "Syphilis and Marriage" (1881), his own "Social Diseases and Marriage" (1904), and several of his pamphlets published by the American Society of Sanitary and Moral Prophylaxis, have been authoritative statements of conditions as the medical world sees them.

[Sidenote: Social diseases and immorality.]

The extent of social diseases is a fairly accurate measure of the minimum amount of immorality, for nothing is better established in medical science than that promiscuity in sexual relations is directly or indirectly responsible for spread of the microorganisms which cause the diseases. If for several generations all men and women limited their sexual relations to monogamic marriage, and the relatively rare cases of non-sexual and prenatal infection were treated so as to render them non-contagious, the social diseases would probably disappear from the human family. Such a statement is significant only in showing the relation of social diseases to sexual promiscuity, for of course, there is no reasonable hope that the venereal germs will ever be annihilated by universal monogamy.

[Sidenote: Attack by education and sanitation.]

Reduction of the amount of venereal disease must depend upon (1) hygienic and moral education which will lead people to avoid the sources of infection and (2) sanitary and medical science which works either by applying antiseptic or other prophylactic methods for preventing development of the causative microorganisms, or by using germicides for destroying those germs which have already produced disease. Thus the educational and the sanitary attack on the social diseases lie parallel. Both are needed, for, even with all the possible methods of attack, the progress against these diseases will be exceedingly slow.

Those who are interested in the facts relating to social diseases which point to the need of sex-education as one method of prevention, are referred to the pamphlets published by the American Society of Sanitary and Moral Prophylaxis; Morrow's "Social Diseases and Marriage"; Creighton's "The Social Disease and How to Fight It"; Dock's "Hygiene and Morality"; Henderson's "Education with Reference to Sex"; and certain chapters in Warbasse's "Medical Sociology."

[Sidenote: Estimated amount of disease.]

With regard to the accuracy of the commonly quoted statements concerning the prevalence of social disease, and therefore of immorality, it must be said in all fairness that there has been much guesswork and some deliberate exaggeration. We learn from various books and lectures that fifty, sixty-five, seventy-five and even ninety per cent of the men in the United States over eighteen years of age are at some time infected with at least one of the social diseases. The fact is that there is no scientific way of getting accurate statistics, for unlike other contagious diseases, the venereal ones are kept more or less secret, and numerous cases cannot be discovered by health officers. All the published figures regarding the prevalence of such diseases are merely estimates based upon the experience of certain physicians with special groups of men, especially in hospitals. There is no reliable scientific evidence as to the prevalence of venereal disease in the whole mass of our American population.

[Sidenote: Education not concerned with percentages.]

However, so far as education is concerned, there is nothing to be gained by dispute as to the possible inaccuracy of the higher percentages,[1] for it is generally admitted that probably over fifty per cent of the men in America and Europe become infected with gonorrhea or syphilis, or both, one or more times during their lives, especially in early manhood. This conservative estimate is sufficient to show that the sexual morals of probably the majority of men are at some time in their lives loose. There is reason to believe that with most such men the period of moral laxity is in early manhood before marriage, which, though not excusable, is explainable on physiological grounds. It is important to correct the wrong impression which is now widespread, especially among women who have read the more or less sensational statements in certain books and magazines, that the quoted figures on social disease mean that from fifty to ninety per cent of all men are immoral from time to time for many years. If that were true, the situation represented by the highest estimates would be hopeless, and we might as well start out to adjust society to a system of recognized sexual promiscuity. Fortunately, it is far from true, for a great many men included in even the conservative statistics of social disease were infected because they strayed from the moral path very few times and in many cases only once. This fact makes the outlook for improved sexual morals and health more hopeful, for probably the majority of young men need help in controlling themselves for a few years only, especially between eighteen and twenty-five.[2]

[Sidenote: Established facts.]

The reports of medical men regarding the damage done by the social diseases are inaccurate chiefly when they attempt to state percentages of the whole population. They are reliable when they state observed facts, such as the following: It is now established in medical science that (1) gonorrheal infection results in tens of thousands of cases in complications, such as heart disease, gonorrheal rheumatism, sterility of both men and women, blindness of infants, inflammatory diseases of female reproductive organs, and other well-marked sequelae of the disease; and (2) that syphilis is responsible for a large majority of cases of locomotor ataxia, paresis and certain types of insanity, and also for numerous aneurisms of arteries, many apoplexies, and much disease of liver, kidneys, and other organs. Moreover, syphilis is charged with being the greatest race destroyer. Fournier, the great French specialist, noted that only two children survived from a series of ninety pregnancies of syphilitic women of the well-to-do class. It is probably true that much less than ten per cent of syphilitized embryos ever grow into mature men and women, and even these few survivors are likely to carry in their bodies the germs or the "virus" of syphilis which may affect the next generation.

[Sidenote: Social diseases admittedly dangerous.]

Such direct statements as the above may be accepted as not exaggerated. However, it little matters in sex-education, except for the purposes of sensational writers, whether statistics regarding the damage done by venereal diseases are more than estimates; for it is sufficient to remember that every physician of large experience agrees that syphilis and gonorrhea are so common and so destructive of health and life that they must be classed among the most dangerous diseases that now threaten the human race. This ought to be sufficient to attract the serious attention of every thinking man and woman.

[Sidenote: Double standard of morality.]

Thus, in general survey, we see the great problems of social-sexual hygiene caused by diseases that are widely distributed because sexual instincts are uncontrolled. In short, the alarming problem of the social diseases results from masculine promiscuity or the failure of men to adhere to the monogamic standards of morality. In other and familiar phrasing, there is widespread acceptance and practice of the so-called "double standard of sexual morality," a monogamic one for respectable women and promiscuity for many of their male relatives and friends. (See writings of Morrow, especially "The Sex Problem"; also Creighton's "The Social Disease.")

[Sidenote: One problem for sex-education.]

Our brief survey of the hygienic problems caused by sexual promiscuity and its characteristic diseases is sufficient to indicate one great problem for sex-education. Such social-hygiene problems have been most responsible for the recent and rapid rise of the movement for sex-education, and they must be recognized in any adequate scheme for instruction of young people.

[Sidenote: Is sex-hygiene adequate?]

Can scientific education hope to solve the sexual problems of society by inculcating such fear of venereal diseases that men will remain true to the monogamic code of morality? Many cynical disbelievers in sex-hygiene answer this question negatively by asking in biblical phrase, "Can the leopard change his spots?" In other words, these doubting ones believe that sexual instincts are so firmly fixed in the nature of many men and some women that there is no hope of radical change through education.[3] There is something in this point of view. It is probably true that even the most radical advocates of sex-education do not hope to secure universal monogamy and consequent disappearance of social diseases. A conservative and rational answer to the above question whether sex-education can solve the problem of social diseases, is that a large percentage of even civilized people are not yet ready to have their most powerful instincts controlled by scientific knowledge. Hence, there is no hope that the hygienic task of sex-education will be finished soon after instruction becomes an established part of general education in homes and schools. At the very best there will be incomplete returns for the social-hygienic aspect of sex-instruction, but already we know for a certainty that enough young men will be influenced to make the teaching justifiable. I feel sure of this because I have met personally many such men and my friends know many more.

According to the investigations made by Dr. Exner, the medical secretary of the Young Men's Christian Association, a great reduction of venereal disease has followed sex-hygienic campaigns in college towns.

[Sidenote: Medical treatment.]

In another way hygienic teaching may reduce the amount of venereal diseases, and that is by leading infected individuals to seek thorough medical treatment without delay. This, of course, will render the diseased person non-infectious to others. Physicians report that there is now a marked movement in this direction and, moreover, that many infected young men voluntarily seek medical examinations before marriage.

[Sidenote: Woman's need of information.]

Even if we refuse to believe that social-hygienic teaching will protect many young men from sexual diseases, there is the woman's need of information to be considered. As said before, women more than men suffer the consequences of venereal infections. Therefore, every young woman who considers marriage should know the possibility of danger to herself and her children, and be able to decide accordingly. Of course, even with much knowledge she may marry the wrong man, for correct diagnosis of social disease is not always easy; but if her confidence is betrayed and she becomes infected, she ought to know the importance of immediate and radical medical treatment. Let me illustrate these statements that women should know the danger of venereal disease. One of my college friends neglected an important legal case to travel seven hundred miles in order to tell face to face another college friend that she was about to marry a dangerous man. Being utterly ignorant of the existence of sexual diseases, the girl and her mother characterized my friend's statement by a short and ugly word, and ordered him to leave their home instantly. The marriage occurred and some months later the young woman went to her grave, a victim of gonorrheal salpingitis and peritonitis.

Another case which illustrates the danger of a woman's ignorance: One of my students of many years ago married a minister who infected her with syphilis and kept her from medical attention until the disease was in a highly developed stage, and even then conspired with an inefficient doctor to keep her ignorant of the nature of the disease.

[Sidenote: The right to knowledge.]

These are not extreme cases, for any physician with large experience knows that such things are common. Medical literature is full of such painful recitals of venereal tragedies. It is not desirable that all young women should know the details of such tragedies, but they should know that dangers exist. Parents and educators will not have done their duty until they cooperate to give all young women the protective knowledge they have a right to demand.[4]

[Sidenote: Best people must lead.]

There is another way of looking at the possible effect of the social side of sex-hygienic instruction. It is sure to make a decided impression upon many young people of the type that we regard as the best in every way. These will be the leaders of the future and they in turn will help improve conditions. Perhaps it may all work out as the drug problem is being solved. Widespread social and hygienic information regarding the harmful effect of alcohol, cocaine, opium, and other drugs has first of all impressed leading citizens; and these are beginning to control by laws those who cannot be reached directly by education. In some such ways those who are impressed by formal sex-education may lend a hand in influencing many who could not be touched directly by hygienic education.

[Sidenote: Legislation needed.]

There is no doubt that public enlightenment regarding the dangers of social diseases will soon lead to legislation and public medical work which will contribute greatly towards reduction of the diseases. For example, legislation with reference to venereal disease should require doctors to report cases to health officers, should forbid "quack" advertising of fake "cures," should forbid sale by drug stores of nostrums for personal treatment, should provide dispensaries and hospitals for reliable treatment at reasonable cost, should require medical examinations for marriage licenses and provide for such examinations at moderate charges or at public expense, should require certain sanitary precautions in care of eyes of new-born infants, and should provide for discovery and treatment of congenital syphilis in school children. These are lines in which good laws might help vastly in the war against the social diseases. Moreover, it is obvious that all laws which help control the social evil will work indirectly against the social diseases.

[Sidenote: Probable results of instruction.]

In conclusion, it seems probable that popular knowledge of the social side of sex-hygiene will reduce the amount of venereal disease (1) by teaching some people the dangers of promiscuity, (2) by adoption of certain sanitary precautions that lessen danger of infection, (3) by leading people to seek competent medical aid which, while often failing to restore the victim's health, will probably eliminate the danger of contagion for others, and (4) by intelligent support of laws that directly or indirectly affect the social diseases.

[Sidenote: Social diseases not most important.]

I have given great prominence to the social-sexual diseases in their relation to sex-education because along this line there has been developed the widespread interest in sex-instruction as one method of protecting young people against promiscuity. So far as the questions of teaching are concerned, my personal view is that some of the other reasons or problems for sex-instruction are more important, because I believe that educational emphasis on them will give the greatest results in improved sexual conditions of society.

Sec. 8. Third Problem for Sex-instruction: the Social Evil

So far as the problems of sex-education are concerned, there is nothing to be gained by an extensive review of commercialized prostitution. It is generally accepted that the social evil or prostitution is increased by the common ignorance of young people of both sexes regarding the physical and social relations of sex.

Of course, it is not true that all prostitution is due to ignorance, for it often involves enlightened men and women. However, there seems to be good reason for believing that large numbers of people of both sexes might be kept out of prostitution by very simple sex-instruction. Let us look for a moment at some facts concerning the relation of the ignorance of the women to their entrance into the underworld, and later consider certain reasons why many men patronize the social evil.

[Sidenote: Why women enter prostitution.]

With regard to the women victims of prostitution, it seems to be generally accepted that economic pressure, feeble-mindedness, bad social environment, and unguided instincts, independently or combined, are the chief causes of their downfall. However, there is a deeper reason why numerous women enter prostitution, for all of these factors commonly operate because of inadequate sexual knowledge. In short, ignorance is the fundamental cause of much prostitution on the part of women. Many a girl with starvation wages, bad social surroundings, sub-normal mentality, or even intense instincts is able to keep her womanhood because she knows the awful dangers of sexual promiscuity. For our present educational purposes, it is sufficient to point out the opinion of competent social workers that knowledge might often counteract the forces that lead women from virtue and down into prostitution.

[Sidenote: Men also ignorant.]

A large number of men patronize prostitution because they are ignorant in one or more of the following respects. Some of them have drifted into abnormal sexual habits when they were boys, and later into illicit relations. Some of them did not know the effect of alcoholic drinks in leading many young men to their first immoral sexual acts. Some of them have deliberately patronized prostitution because they have accepted as truth the monstrous lie that sexual activity is necessary to preserve the health of men.[5] Most of the men do not realize that prostitution offers great danger to their own health, still greater danger to the health of innocent wives and children, and a greatly shortened life for many women who are the victims of sexual slavery. Most men do not know that dark tragedies are often concealed beneath the apparent gay life of the women who are victims of sexual degradation. These are some of the things of which many young men I have known were very ignorant, and it has been no difficult task to trace a close connection between their ignorance and their vice.

[Sidenote: Ignorance the chief cause.]

Looking at the social evil from any point of view, it seems to me that ignorance, dense ignorance, is largely responsible for the existence of that darkest blot on our boasted civilization—the social-sexual evil. No matter how we look at the established facts regarding prostitution, they all point to the need of sexual instruction for the protection of the youth of both sexes. The Chicago Vice Commission concluded that "the lack of information, education and training with reference to the function and control of the sexual instinct, and the consequences of its abuse and perversion, appears at every point of our inquiry for the sources of the supply of the victims of vice, either as the cause of the perversion of children and youth or as a complication of all other causes."[6] Of course, we dare not dream that any sex-instruction that now seems possible will completely eradicate prostitution; but we do know of thousands of boys and girls who have been directed to safety by knowledge of some fundamental sexual facts.

[Sidenote: Sex plays and novels.]

Concerning presentation of the social evil by fiction and the drama, there is much honest disagreement. My personal opinion is that little good is done by the theater or by such publications as Reginald Kaufmann's "House of Bondage," and Elizabeth Robin's "My Little Sister." They all leave the unsophisticated reader with an exaggerated and even hysterical notion that white slavery is exceedingly common and the main cause of prostitution. Certainly the great majority of the army of prostitutes, both public and clandestine, in America, and a still higher percentage on the continent of Europe, did not become novitiates of vice in prisons of prostitution.

[Sidenote: Limited reading desirable.]

It seems to me that a very limited reading regarding the social evil is sufficient for one who is not engaged in medical or social work that requires scientific knowledge of this darkest side of human life. Certainly, the indiscriminate reading of vice investigations is dangerous for many young people,—for young men because some of them are allured into personal investigations, and for young women because they get an exaggerated and pessimistic view of all sexual problems. For the intelligent reader who wants the general information that every public-spirited citizen should have, the well-known book by Jane Addams will serve both as an outline and an encyclopedia of the social evil. Social workers and some educators will find use for the other books mentioned below.

Jane Addams.—"A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil." (Macmillan).

Seligman, E.R.A. (Editor).—"The Social Evil." (Putnam.) Contains bibliography on the subject.

Sumner, Dean W.T., and others.—"The Social Evil in Chicago." Vice-Commission Report, 1911. Now published by the American Social Hygiene Association. The "introduction and summary" (pp. 25-47) deserves careful reading.

Cocks, O.G.—"The Social Evil" (Association Press).

"Vigilance," a journal devoted to attacking the social evil, has been discontinued and replaced by bulletins of the American Social Hygiene Association, 105 West 40th Street, New York City.

Sec. 9. The Fourth Problem for Sex-education: Illegitimacy

[Sidenote: Society condemns illegitimacy.]

Most awful of all the results of the sexual mistakes of men and women are the unmarried mothers and their illegitimate children. Of course, I know that there are well-meaning people who argue that motherhood is the supreme fact and that the formality of a marriage ceremony is merely a medievalism in our laws and customs; but the inexorable truth remains that our modern social system is centered around the home which is strictly regulated by church and state and public opinion.[7] Whatever may be the philosophical rights and wrongs of individual freedom in sexual relationship, the facts of practical life are that an overwhelming majority of the most intelligent people are united in support of our established laws and customs demanding legitimacy of motherhood and birthright. As a result of this age-old stand for legitimacy, illegitimate mothers and children do not have a square deal at the bar of public opinion. Everybody knows that the vast majority of illegitimate children do not have a fair chance in the world's work. Professor Cattell, in Science, March, 1914, points out that since illegitimates occur one in every twenty-five births in the United States, and since they are on the whole equal to other children in mentality, there ought to be forty of them among the thousand leading men of science designated in the directory of the "American Men of Science;" but none are known. The conclusion must be that illegitimate children do not have an equal chance at education which leads to prominence in science. But it is not simply a matter of limited education, for in every way the fate of most illegitimate children is usually pitiful. Only now and then one born under a lucky star is adopted and educated by large-minded foster parents who recognize that the illegitimate is not responsible for having come into this world under conditions opposed to the best interests of society.

[Sidenote: Ignorance the cause.]

It seems to be generally accepted that in the vast majority of cases, unmarried mothers and illegitimate children are due to ignorance of the women. Women who are professionally immoral do not bear many children.[8] In fact, excepting the feeble-minded prostitutes, the general rule is that those who are mothers have only one child and that one the result of the first sexual errors. It is a safe general conclusion that ignorance of sexual laws is responsible for the great majority of cases of illegitimacy.

Edith Livingston Smith, of Boston, in an article on "Unmarried Mothers" in Harper's Weekly for September 6, 1913, expressed views of the causes of illegitimacy that many a social worker will indorse heartily:

"I see shop girls and waitresses, factory girls and maids, chorus girls, stenographers, and governesses, each with a different story, each with the same terror of the consequences of their folly. 'I never knew,' they tell me, 'I never knew there were such temptations.'...

"Let us go back to the question of sex-education of the public. Silence has been the policy in the past. We have taught our children biology and natural history, we have taught them physiology, carefully ignoring the organs of reproduction; we have warned the young to make use of their senses and their brains, but we have refused to recognize the very force that guides all these instincts, the vital power of sex. Yet, in the face of this stupidity, acknowledging the call of the age, girls are sent out into the industrial world, where they fight shoulder to shoulder with men. Here they find potential worth of their individualities; here they meet with the same—no greater—temptation than their brothers, but with no knowledge to guide them, no traditions to give them poise, no ameliorating factor of social tenderness or tolerance when inexperience fails to temper their emotions and their femininity....

"A girl's protection must come from without, a boy's from within. Every boy who reaches the age of adolescence knows his nature. It asserts itself. His sex instincts are dominant, aggressive. He is man, the father of the race, and the laws of procreation are to him an open book. A girl stays innocent until she is awakened. It is the kiss, the touch, the senses stirred, that make her, in the glory of her womanhood or in her shame, acknowledge her sex.

"The very frailty of such a girl, her dependence upon her intuitions and emotions, the triumph of feeling over intellect, place her in greater danger than her brothers, even were their responsibility to society the same. But, add to this the fact that in yielding to sexual temptation she has the burden of child-bearing—how much more necessary that she should have some knowledge of what she is to meet in the world, or what she must combat, lest her emotions forestall her intelligence as physical development precedes mental appreciation."

[Sidenote: Men also ignorant.]

Illegitimacy is often due to ignorance of men as well as of women. Prominent physicians have cited from their notebooks cases of "protected" children in early adolescence who instinctively entered into sexual relationship in utter ignorance of the natural result. Such cases where the boy is entirely ignorant must be very rare; but there are probably many boys who do not really understand that the sexual act is very likely to lead to a ruined life for the girl companion and her offspring. Arthur Donnithorne, in "Adam Bede," did not forecast that his act would lead to the ruin of Hetty Sorrel and her condemnation for infanticide.

[Sidenote: More than biology needed.]

It is obvious that something more than the ordinary biological facts of reproduction must be included in sex-instruction that tries to prevent such tragedies. In another lecture we shall consider moral teaching, but here let us look at the cold facts of life that ought to be taught at some appropriate time to young people. Not only should they know the simple biological probability that sexual relationship will lead to reproduction, but they should be led to consider the relentless consequences of illegitimate propagation. On this latter point general literature, e.g., "Adam Bede" and "The Scarlet Letter," teaches some impressive lessons.

Another point needs emphasis with the numerous young people, especially men, who are not controlled by moral laws, who know the probabilities of illegitimacy occurring, but who have acquired the popular impression that the order of nature is easily changed. Many physicians and social workers know girls who have gone down because they were persuaded to trust the efficiency of popular ways and means of avoiding the natural outcome of the sexual act. Hence, young people of both sexes should somehow learn that under the conditions that usually attend illicit union there is always a strong probability that the ways of nature cannot be easily circumvented. It is unlawful to explain, except to medical audiences, why this is so; but much illegitimacy will be prevented if it can be made widely known among young men and women that, according to reliable physicians, tragedies of illegitimacy are often due to misplaced confidence in popular methods of contraception.

[Sidenote: Criminal operations.]

There is yet another line of information that if widely known might have some bearing on the problem of illicit sexual relations: Physicians and social workers report that many young men and some women know the possibility of illegitimate pregnancy, but feel safe because they know the addresses of doctors and midwives who will perform criminal operations. The great danger of the operation, especially at the hands of such third-class doctors as would attempt to terminate pregnancy criminally, should be widely known by the general public, which only now and then gets a hint in the newspaper reports of a tragedy involving some unfortunate girl.

[Sidenote: Relative passion of men and women.]

There is the widespread misunderstanding among young men that sexual hunger is as insistent in virtuous young women as in themselves and that therefore illicit gratification is a mutual gain and responsibility. Some young men may be guided by the information that there is much reliable evidence indicating that, while an innate tendency towards general emotions of affection is strong in the average young woman, there is general absence of the localized passions that naturally and automatically develop in young men. In other words, the first definite sexual temptation is likely to come to a young woman from outside herself, and young men should be impressed with their responsibility for allowing even the beginning of situations that may arouse dormant but dangerous instincts.

Sec. 10. The Fifth Problem for Sex-education: Sexual Morality

In this lecture I shall set forth the proposition that a definitely organized scheme of education should aim directly at making young people strict adherents of the established code of sexual morality. For brevity, I shall occasionally speak of morality and immorality, omitting the qualifying word "sexual."

[Sidenote: Definition of sexual morality.]

This lecture, in fact this entire series of lectures on sex-education, is based on the fundamental proposition that sexual morality demands that sexual union be restricted to monogamic marriage, and conversely, that such sexual relation outside of marriage is immoral. Such a definition of sexual morality is accepted by church and state and the chief citizens in every civilized country. It is the only practical definition which is satisfactory to the vast majority of educated American men and women, even to those who believe in freedom of divorce and in forgiveness for youthful transgressions of the accepted moral code. Sexual morality has had changeable standards, and in other times and countries custom has made polygamy and promiscuity acceptable as moral; but the monogamic ideal of morality now prevails in the world's best life.

[Sidenote: Morality in America and Europe.]

Monogamic morality as a protection for family life means much more in America than in Europe. It is true that there is an astounding amount of prostitution in America, but we should be grateful that our ideals of the monogamic family have not been seriously influenced and seem to be slowly but surely improving among our best people. As illustrations of our adherence to monogamic law, let me give some facts for comparison of America and continental Europe. In America, illegitimate births are not accurately reported but are probably less than five per cent of the total number for the whole country. Locally the proportion is often very much higher. Thus in Washington, D.C., where (1914) over ten thousand, chiefly negroes, live in alleys between the streets and under extremely unhygienic and immoral conditions, fifty per cent of the children are illegitimate, while but twenty per cent of the colored children born of mothers living outside the alleys, and less than eleven per cent of the total born of all races in the city are illegitimate. In various small American regions with a white population the proportion of illegitimacy is astoundingly high, but the average for the entire country is hopefully low. In many German towns statistics show above twenty-five per cent, and in the whole empire, more than half the legitimate first-born children are conceived before marriage. All writers, the German ones included, seem to agree that the majority of Teutonic men and women enter into free unions before marriage and public opinion does not severely condemn.

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