Q Dear Miss Abigail:
There is this really fine kid who wants to have sex with me. What should I do?
A Dear Linguica:
The question is, what do you want to do? Here’s a bit of advice, not surprisingly from the fifties, to help guide you as you make up your mind.
1956: How to Stop: The Girl’s Responsibility
Down through the ages it has been considered the female’s responsibility to keep relationships between the sexes under control. The big reason apparently is that women are less easily excited by sex stimulation and more slowly moved to demand sexual contact. It is true that on the whole girls are more slowly aroused and can stop love-making more easily than the average male can. The female’s response is an all-over one, generalized rather than localized, and more gradual in its build-up than that of the typical male.
Coupled with this physiologic difference is the fact that girls and boys alike, as well as almost everyone else, consider it the girl’s responsibility “to keep the boys in line.” If two lovers are swept off their feet, it is the girl that is blamed. She is held responsible. She should have known better.
Getting a boy to stop his love-making is hard for some girls. They are so hungry for loving that they cling to any expression of affection that they can evoke. Girls may be so afraid of losing the boy’s affection that they dare not refuse him intimacies that he seems to enjoy. Some girls just do not know how to say no to a boy without hurting his feelings or offending something fine in their relationship. Yet a girl can keep the expressions of affection between herself and her boy friends on a comfortable basis without losing his love, or his friendship, or the sense of everything’s being all right between them. . . .
Stopping love-making that is already advancing at a rapid rate is not easy. But it can be done. Cora was snuggling close to her boy friend in the car late one night. They were both relaxed and happy. They were very fond of each other. He began to kiss her, and she responded eagerly. Then something new came into their love-making as his hand slipped down between her breasts and his kiss took on an intensity that was frightening. Cora struggled free of his embrace, shook her curls with a jerky little laugh saying, “Ooooh, please, you are too much for me.”
Hazel takes a different tack. When a date’s hands begin to wander into the no man’s land which she considers untouchable, she firmly removes the hand as she says with surprise, “Why, this isn’t Tuesday, is it?” The humor, “corny” as it is, is usually enough to stop all but the most explosive of boys.
One girl reports that when she is parked with a boy who insists on going faster in his petting than either of them has brakes for, she turns the key in the ignition and sweetly says “Will you drive, or shall I?” The particular technique a girl uses in assuming her responsibility does not matter so long as it works. If she can do it without making either of them feel shabby, she should by all means. She does not need to preach or to use words at all. Anything she can do which will tell him that she likes him, at the same time that she cannot permit such behavior, will usually work. Some boys are so insistent, that a girl has to know her own mind and be able to back it up with effective methods if she is to hold to her standards.
It comes down, in the last analysis, to how sure a girl is of herself. If she knows who she is in her own heart, if she cares about building toward a rich and full future as a woman, she will be able to put off some of the blind-alley activities that lead nowhere except into crack-ups. Petting is neither good nor bad in itself. It is what it means and what it stands for in a long lifetime of relations with men that gives the perspective a girl needs.
Source: Duvall, Evelyn Millis. Facts of Life and Love for Teen-Agers. New York: Association Press, 1956.
~ p. 285-86, 288-89 ~