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From the Archive - 14.07.1961

Importance of not being earnest

Sex matters should be discussed with young people before puberty, when they become emotionally involved. That is what 200 of Britain's boys' club leaders were told by a Leicester woman magistrate, Mrs GMW Bishop.

When children were seven, parents would start to speak to them about sex, she said. They often failed in their duty, however, and in many cases club leaders were the only adults to whom troubled adolescents could turn.

"All club leaders need to be prepared to discuss sex with their boys and they should be trained to deal with sex problems and sexual abnormalities."

The best form of help, she said, was often not advice but just being someone who could be freely talked to. She appealed to delegates to be fearless in their approach to boys they thought had problems on their minds.

Mrs Bishop said that young people want to know how far to go in petting. The fashion today was for petting to lead on to heavy petting which usually ended in sexual intercourse.

"I tell young people that if they laugh and joke when they are petting it is alright. It is when they become earnest that it is time to break it up," she said.

With sexual matters, knowledge was the greatest protection anyone could have. Boys going through puberty sometimes feel a deep affection for each other, said Mrs Bishop, and this often worries them. "They must be told that this is a natural phase of development. Many boys become homosexuals through needless worry and bottling up their emotions."

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