Selected writings of A. Jackson Howe.
It will be gratifying to the advocates of sexual education and social purity to know that Professor Howe tackled this subject over a quarter century ago—when people were prudish about giving sexual enlightenment to the young. To-day it is one of the foremost of social movements, and many ways—some of them excellent—are advocated for imparting such instruction. The remedy here given is, in our opinion, the best solution of the problem ever offered—that is, of letting the young have access to a recent standard physiology published for physicians, and which is necessarily free from everything but the scientific aspect of the subject. It speaks well for Dr. Howe's courage, judgment, and balance in viewing and providing for such a needed reform.—Ed. Gleaner.
SEXUAL EDUCATION.—Parents would have their children know something about sexual physiology as the period of pubescence arrives, but they do not understand how such instruction can be safely imparted. School books and popular works on anatomy, physiology, and hygiene contain nothing in regard to reproduction or the functions of the sexual organs, or so little that the desire is kindled to obtain knowledge. Curiosity is awakened by the command not to touch "forbidden fruit." Half grown boys often have a circulating library of obscene literature; and the lad passes as "smart" who is the possessor of a vulgar volume. Girls have few opportunities to learn anything about the parts they are to play in the peopled world. They march on to destiny with the thoughtlessness of so many female bovines.
Now, to better this state of sexual ignorance—or of something worse than ignorance, a pruriently perverted imagination—let the heads of families place among their reading books a copy of some standard work on physiology, such a production as is found in a physician's library. Let the work be of recent publication and well illustrated. In that the young man or woman can find all about reproduction, yet obtain no information he or she ought not to have. It has seemed strange that this method of imparting knowledge to youth has not been generally adopted. In the standard work on physiology may be found the solemn facts of physical procreation, and nothing is said about lust and the base impulses of passion. Sexual appetite secures perpetuation of the race, and matrimony is the normal and legitimate method for indulgence. Abnormal and illegitimate contacts are attended with penalties.— HOWE, Eclectic Medical Journal, 1886.