Health

Would You Pass A Sex Ed Test In 1957?

Helpful pre-req: Petting 101.

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So, you think you're a '50s sexpert.

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Well, let's find out!

But first you should know about a real-life '50s sexpert: Lester A. Kirkendall, sex educator and Oregon State College professor of family life. In 1957, he revised and updated a booklet he originally published in 1947, called Understanding Sex. It was part of a series of booklets aimed at young people to help them solve "the problems of everyday living." With his updated volume, Kirkendall aimed to answer common questions about sex and to teach "desirable attitudes towards sexual behavior and relationships with members of the other sex..."

Answer the questions below to see if you would've passed a Kirkendall-taught course in "family life"!

  1. 1.

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    Being someone's "steady" before age 17; opposite-sex friendships
    Same-sex crushes; attraction to a considerably older person
    Friendships where there's sexual experimentation; same-sex relationships
    Relationships with heavy petting; dating that's initiated by the girl
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Same-sex crushes; attraction to a considerably older person

    According to Kirkendall, "strong emotional friendships" with (i.e. romantic feelings for) someone of the same sex can prevent you from finding pleasure in associating with persons of the other sex, which is, let's be honest, a '50s teen's #1 social priority. And when a crush exists between a boy or girl and a considerably older person, the attachment is likely to cut them off from other people, which is unhealthy. ONE of those things sounds right. If I didn't know any better, I'd think the author was equating same-sex attraction with inappropriate adult-child relationships!

  2. 2.

    True
    False
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    False

    "Women used to think that menstruation prevented them from carrying on their usual activities," but doctors now know that "the modern girl, used to sports and activities, often has no difficulty during menstruation." Strap on that sanitary napkin belt and cavort to your heart's delight!

  3. 3.

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    Spicy or salty foods, bathing in hot water
    Upsetting conversations, tight clothing, boys
    Working too much, nervous tension, overexertion, extreme changes in temperature
    All of the above
    None of the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Working too much, nervous tension, overexertion, extreme changes in temperature

    Even though the modern girl shouldn't worry about stopping her daily activities for her period, she should guard against overworking, nervous tension, too much exertion, and especially against extreme changes in temperature. Kirkendall doesn't explain exactly why, but hey, overworking, stress, and extreme temperatures are annoying, so maybe he was on to something.

  4. 4.

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    Girls inadvertently arousing them (by not realizing how sexually excitable boys are)
    The flood of hormones that makes sexual feelings come at inopportune times
    Frequent "self-abuse" (masturbation)
    Looking at sexually suggestive materials
    All of the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Girls inadvertently arousing them (by not realizing how sexually excitable boys are)

    The thing is that girls have to be extra careful about how they act around boys, who are helpless to even mild and inadvertent flirtation. Perhaps he discussed how boys can be responsible for their own desires in a follow-up booklet.

  5. 5.

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    Being too "fast" with a boy
    Masturbating
    Not realizing that boys start relationships for sexual satisfaction
    All of the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Not realizing that boys start relationships for sexual satisfaction

    Many times, the author writes, boys begin sexual relationships with girls purely for physical satisfaction only to find out later that the girl has "turned it into a love relationship." These one-sided relationships can lead women to become bitter, disillusioned, and heartbroken, and to eventually marry badly. Sounds like Kirkendall would've been great at writing the plot of modern-day rom-coms!

  6. 6.

    Decorate their rooms with stimulating pictures / talk about sex continually
    Engage in masturbation / experience frequent erections
    Aren't circumcised / have more than one "nocturnal emission" per week
    All of the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Decorate their rooms with stimulating pictures / talk about sex continually

    The more a boy surrounds himself with stimulating material and engages in sex talk, the more victimized he will be by his own impossible-to-control sexual desire. It's the ol' out-of-sight-out-of-mind approach to sexuality.

  7. 7.

    Touching / sinful completion
    Handling or fondling / sex stimulation
    Grinding / reciprocation
    Caressing / orgasm
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Handling or fondling / sex stimulation

    "Petting may be defined as handling or fondling parts of the body of a person of the other sex which are not ordinarily touched, in order to obtain sex stimulation." Let's all take a moment and thank the creator/chaos theory that the word "petting" fell out of fashion.

  8. 8.

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    It leads to premarital sex
    It builds up desire
    It leads to sexual frustration that causes a couple to break up
    All of the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    All of the above

    The problem with petting, Kirkendall explains, is that the more you do it, the more you want to have premarital sex, which means you either end up having premarital sex, which wouldn't be good, or you end up trying not to have premarital sex, which will lead to sexual frustration, quarreling, and the end of your relationship. I mean, some of that sounds right?

  9. 9.

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    Go on to become engaged and then married
    Experience equal satisfaction in the relationship
    Do anything other than perilously increase the boy's sexual desire
    All of the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Go on to become engaged and then married

    Kirkendall says that relationships in which premarital sex occurs do not lead to engagement and marriage. TAKE NOTE.

  10. 10.

    Personal pleasure, to prove himself a man, so he can talk about it with other guys
    To impress his friends, to help prevent unwanted erections, to make sure he isn't homosexual
    Because a girl pressured him into it, because he was dared by another fellow, to fit in with other boys
    Any of the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Personal pleasure, to prove himself a man, so he can talk about it with other guys

    According to the author, a boy might engage in sexual activity for one or more of the following personal reasons: for pleasure, to prove his manhood, so he can shoot the shit with the guys in the locker room. How much has REALLY changed since 1957?

  11. 11.

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    To please a boy, for her own pleasure, to experiment, so that a boy will keep dating her
    Pressure from the boy, to impress her friends, to control a boy
    To honor her authentic needs and desires, to exercise bodily autonomy, because having control of her sexuality makes her feel empowered
    Any of the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    To please a boy, her own pleasure, to experiment, so that a boy will keep dating her

    A girl might enter into intercourse to please a boy, for her own pleasure, to experiment, or so that a boy will keep dating her. To each their own, eh, Professor Kirkendall?

  12. 12.

    Be ignored in favor of simpler girls with a "morally casual attitude"
    Attract desirable male companions
    Intimidate boys
    Turn down any boy who doesn't meet her high standards
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Attract desirable male companions

    Kirkendall says that the well-rounded, enjoyable girl is more likely to attract a decent companion. And THAT is why girls should work on being better, more interesting people.

  13. 13.

    True
    False
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    False

    "Masturbation is a very common practice among boys; it is not so frequent among girls." Boys will be boys (aka masturbating)!

  14. 14.

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    In large cities
    Lurking in the shadows
    Anywhere the morally corruptible are known to be
    All of the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    In large cities

    Homosexuals are most frequently found in large cities and around places where it is common for only men and boys, or girls and women, to gather. Note to self: Travel to large cities ASAP.

  15. 15.

    By strongly asserting your disgust
    By clearly and firmly expressing your disinterest
    By strongly refusing and offering resources that can help them become better sexually "adjusted"
    Any of the above are acceptable
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    By clearly and firmly expressing your disinterest

    Kirkendall explains that homosexuals "may approach you and set up a friendly conversation which may end by an invitation to participate in sexual activities." The best thing to do in this situation is to simply explain clearly and firmly your disinterest and assert your intention not to participate. He adds that because homosexuals are social outcasts, mistreatment and expressions of contempt and disgust only serve to make their situation worse. So, don't be super mean, just decline and make sure they know YOU'RE NOT INTO IT. Throw a "no homo" in for good measure.

  16. 16.

    A girl who marries only after becoming pregnant
    A girl who used to be "fast" but has changed her ways
    People who have homosexual desires but know how to control their impulses
    Homosexuals to whom you're related
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    People who have homosexual desires but know how to control their impulses

    "Many people have homosexual desires, yet know how to control their impulses and never seek to bring others into homosexual practices," Kirkendall writes. These people, he says, can be good citizens and friends. Homosexuals ARE good friends, studies continue to show!

Would You Pass A Sex Ed Test In 1957?

You would've failed sex ed 60 years ago.

Which, when you think about it, probably isn't the worst thing in the world since some of the attitudes back then were ~problematic~. So...congrats?

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You know a thing or two about sex stuff circa 1957!

You somehow know a little bit about sex ed 60 years ago. Or you guessed well. Either way, congrats on having some mastery of this extremely questionable info!

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Wow, you're a 1950s sexpert

OK, question. Were you a teenager in the '50s? Because, wow, you could've *taught* one of Professor Kirkendall's family life classes! Many congrats on your expertise.

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