Boys and girls. Girls and boys. Who would imagine that they were so incredibly different? Thanks to P. J. Bruckner’s pamphlet titled How to Give Sex Instructions, which was written as “a guide for parents, teachers, and others responsible for the training of young people,” we are finally able to have a better understanding of these mysterious creatures.
1937: An Important Difference
Young people usually are ignorant of the essential difference between the sex instincts in men and in women. Young people think the sex instinct is the same in all people, that it differs only in intensity. Psychologists, on the other hand, say there are two factors in the sex urge: (1) the psychic factor, the craving of the soul for companionship, understanding, and sympathetic love; (2) the physical factor, the craving of the body for the sensual side of sex. . . .
Dr. Maurice Bigelow states the difference thus: ‘The sexual instincts of young men are active, aggressive, spontaneous, and automatic, while those of women as a rule are passive and subject to awakening by external stimuli, especially in connection with affection.’
You might explain this to your boy or girl by saying that love in a boy is predominantly physical; in a girl it is chiefly mental and emotional.
The average girl has no idea of the fierceness of a boy’s passion. She knows only that she desires to love and to be loved in return. She believes the boy is as innocent as she is; hence she can see no harm in kissing and embracing. And she thinks her parents are exaggerating the danger when they warn her not to be too free with young men, not to indulge in kissing and petting with them. But if she understands how easily boys are aroused physically, she will be more willing to keep them in their place. From the time she is fifteen until she is twenty years of age, she should be warned repeatedly about this difference between the sexes.
The average boy is equally ignorant of the character of the average girl. He does not know that a girl is different from himself; and when she allows him to embrace and pet her, he thinks that she is just as passionate as he is and that her physical experience is like his ~ the urge to go farther. But if he realizes that a girl seeks merely affection, he will be more careful.
Boys and girls who get this difference between the sexes clear in their minds are able to solve many of their difficulties about petting, kissing, and the like. Parents who worry because they cannot convince their children that there are sex dangers may find that a frequently repeated explanation of this difference that exists between boys and girls will do more good than mere warnings.
Source: Bruckner, P. J. How to Give Sex Instructions. St. Louis, Mo.: The Queen’s Work, 1937.
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