Albuquerque Journal from Albuquerque, New Mexico on June 18, 1967 · Page 80
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Albuquerque Journal from Albuquerque, New Mexico · Page 80

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Albuquerque, New Mexico
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 18, 1967
Page:
Page 80
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Dr. Mary S. Calderone, the world's busiest lecturer on sex education: She tells youth groups here Future Homemakers of America to beware of premarital experimentation. by JOHN G.ROGERS robably nobody in the world thinks about sex as much as Dr. Mary Steichen Calderone, a friendly, attractive, blue-eyed United States S.I.E.C.U.S. Dr. Calderone would like to see every community in the nation establish an improved program of sex education. She believes that schools, churches, homes, youth groups should admit that old taboos are falling and that a sound understanding of sex is vital to the development of healthy young minds and bodies. Her crusade is helping to achieve results. A NEW DAWN Since 1965 hundreds of U.S. school systems have instituted sex instruction. The 49,000-member American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation, representing education, medicine and government, has urged every school system from kindergarten to college to follow suit. The New York City Board of Education has approved a pilot project of sex education in 14 intermediate schools, and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York is considering sex instruction in its parochial schools. When parade recendy published an article on a pioneering sex-education program in Glen Cove, N.Y., the school system there was swamped by more than 4000 letters asking how to set up similar courses. "With the old rules breaking down and temptations incessantly in front of our youth. I think it's essential that we give our young people sound grounding in sex," says Dr. Calderone. "But," she goes on, "too many people think that you complete sex education by teaching reproduction. Sex education has to be far more than that. Sex involves something you are, not just something you do. Children and adults must be taught to understand their sexuality so they can respect it, appreciate it and use it properly at the right time in life. "Our motive in sex instruction should not be just to prevent illegitimacy or venereal disease. It also should be the development of the personality of the individual, an integral part of which is sex." Wherever she goes, she finds ignorance but also a wholesome, increasing desire to overcome it. At a recent meeting, part of her talk dwelled on the complex nature of female sexuality earlier maturity, subtle reaction, wholeness of response. "Gee," said a freckle-faced adolescent, "I didn't know girls were like that." "Of course, you didn't," she snapped. "Nobody ever told you." A daughter of famed photographer Edward Steichen, niece of poet Carl Sandburg, wife of theater owner Dr. Frank Calderone, mother of three daughters and grandmother of two boys, Dr. Mary Calderone got into sex education through her interest in birth control. A Vassar graduate with medical degrees from the University of Rochester and Columbia University, she was a Long Island public-school physician when she joined Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1953 as medical director. Planned Parenthood received many pathetic letters from adults with sex problems. These sketched an image of thousands of U.S. homes in anguish from ignorance in such matters as frigidity, impotence, abnormality, in1 compatibility. "The terrible accumulation of their guilt and anxiety was deeply disturbing," recalls Dr. Calderone, a devout Quaker with that faith's obligation to help others. After several years of concern, she and five colleagues set up an informal committee to examine works on sexuality, to isolate gaps in the knowledge and to stimulate needed research. The logical extension was the organization of S.I.E.C.U.S. in 1965. It began on a budget of S500 and now, supported by contributions and grants, operates out of a six-room office on upper Broadway in New York. The Calderone approach is to be liberal on sex education but conservative on sex practice. Sex experience, she in- contin lied page 18 Parade Jun. 18, 1947 grandmother of 62. She laughs merrily on recalling that one newspaper recently labeled her "the mother image of sex" and that another observed that "she has been interested in sex for most of her life." But laughter aside, Dr. Calderone has earned her descriptions,as she winds up a two-year stint of lectures before groups of all ages and complexions on the single subject of sex. In that time, she has spearheaded a virtual revolution in liberalizing U.S. attitudes toward sex education. Today she and like thinkers look forward to further breakthroughs with the help of new converts flocking to the cause. And no less an authority than the NattMMl Education Association supports her with the observation that 1967 looks like the year of greatest momentum in the field. "We have come very far and very fast in only two years," says the gray-haired lady whose straight from-the-shoulder, no-nonsense answers to tough sex questions endear her particularly to youthful audiences. As executive director of the Sex Information and Education Council of the 16

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