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Sex education, since its advent at the dawn of the 20th century, has provoked the hopes and fears of generations of parents, educators, politicians, and reformers. On its success or failure seems to hinge the moral fate of the nation and its future citizens. But whether we argue over condom distribution to teenagers or the use of an anti-abortion curriculum in high schools, we rarely question the basic premise - the adolescents need to be educated about sex. How did we come to expect the public schools to mange our children's sexuality? more important, what is it about the adolescent that arouses so much anxiety among adults? This book travels back over the past century to trace the emergence of the "sexual adolescent" and the evolution of the schools' efforts to teach sex to this captive pupil. The author takes us on a fascinating ride through America's sexual mores: from a time when young men were warned about the crippling effects of masturbation, to the belief that schools could and should train adolescents in proper courtship and parenting techniques, to the re-emergence of sexual abstention brought by the AIDS crisis. we see how the political and moral anxieties of each era found their way into sex education curricula, reflecting the priorities of the elders more than the concern of the young. Moran illuminates the aspirations and limits of sex education and the ability of public authority to shape private behaviour. More than a critique of public health policy. "Teaching Sex" is a broad cultural inquiry into America's understanding of adolescence, sexual morality, and social reform.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780674009820
ISBN-10: 0674009827
Format: Paperback
(225mm x 146mm x 15mm)
Pages: 304
Imprint: Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publish Date: 1-Oct-2002
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Jeffrey P. Moran

Jeffrey P. Moran is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Kansas.

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