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YOUTH AND SEX

Dangers and Safeguards for Girls and Boys

by

MARY SCHARLIEB, M.D., M.S., AND F. ARTHUR SIBLY, M.A., LL.D.

1919







CONTENTS.


PART I.: GIRLS.

BY MARY SCHARLIEB, M.D., M.S.

INTRODUCTION

I. CHANGES OBSERVABLE DURING PUBERTY AND ADOLESCENCE IN GIRLS

II. OUR DUTIES TOWARDS ADOLESCENT GIRLS

III. CARE OF THE ADOLESCENT GIRL IN SICKNESS

IV. MENTAL AND MORAL TRAINING

V. THE FINAL AIM OF EDUCATION


PART II.: BOYS.

BY F. ARTHUR SIBLY, M.A., LL.D.

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

I. PREVALENCE OF IMPURITY AMONG BOYS: THE AUTHOR'S OWN EXPERIENCE

II. PREVALENCE OF IMPURITY AMONG BOYS: THE OPINIONS OF CANON LYTTELTON,
DR. DUKES AND OTHERS

III. CAUSES OF THE PREVALENCE OF IMPURITY AMONG BOYS

IV. RESULTS OF YOUTHFUL IMPURITY

V. SEX KNOWLEDGE IS COMPATIBLE WITH PERFECT REFINEMENT AND INNOCENCE

VI. CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH PURITY TEACHING IS BEST GIVEN: REMEDIAL AND
CURATIVE MEASURES

NOTE TO CORRESPONDENTS




PART I.: GIRLS.

BY MARY SCHARLIEB, M.D., M.S.

INTRODUCTION.


Probably the most important years in anyone's life are those eight or
ten preceding the twenty-first birthday. During these years
_Heredity_, one of the two great developmental factors, bears its
crop, and the seeds sown before birth and during childhood come to
maturity. During these years also the other great developmental force
known as _Environment_ has full play, the still plastic nature is
moulded by circumstances, and the influence of these two forces is
seen in the manner of individual that results.

This time is generally alluded to under two heads: (1) Puberty, (2)
Adolescence.

By Puberty we understand the period when the reproductive organs are
developed, the boy or girl ceasing to be the neutral child and
acquiring the distinctive characteristics of man or woman. The actual
season of puberty varies in different individuals from the eleventh to
the sixteenth year, and although the changes during this time are not
sudden, they are comparatively rapid.

By Adolescence we understand the time during which the individual is
approximating to the adult type, puberty having been already
accomplished. Adolescence corresponds to the latter half of the
developmental period, and may be prolonged even up to twenty-five
years.




CHAPTER I.

CHANGES OBSERVABLE DURING PUBERTY AND ADOLESCENCE IN GIRLS.


1. Changes in the Bodily Framework.--During this period the girl's
skeleton not only grows remarkably in size, but is also the subject of
well-marked alterations and development. Among the most evident
changes are those which occur in the shape and inclination of the
pelvis. During the years of childhood the female pelvis has a general
resemblance to that of the male, but with the advent of puberty the
vertical portion of the hip bones becomes expanded and altered in
shape, it becomes more curved, and its inner surface looks less
directly forward and more towards its fellow bone of the other side.
The brim of the pelvis, which in the child is more or less
heart-shaped, becomes a wide oval, and consequently the pelvic girdle
gains considerably in width. The heads of the thigh bones not only
actually, in consequence of growth, but also relatively, in
consequence of change of shape in the pelvis, become more widely
separated from each other than they are in childhood, and hence the
gait and the manner of running alters greatly in the adult woman. At
the same time the angle made by the junction of the spinal column with
the back of the pelvis, known as the sacro-vertebral angle, becomes
better marked, and this also contributes to the development of the
characteristic female type. No doubt the female type of pelvis can be
recognised in childhood, and even before birth, but the differences of
male and female pelves before puberty are so slight that it requires
the eye of an expert to distinguish them. The very remarkable
differences that are found between the adult male and the adult female
pelvis begin to appear with puberty and develop rapidly, so that no
one could mistake the pelvis of a properly developed girl of sixteen
or eighteen years of age for that of a boy. These differences are due
in part to the action of the muscles and ligaments on the growing
bones, in part to the weight of the body from above and the reaction
of the ground from beneath, but they are also largely due to the
growth and development of the internal organs peculiar to the woman.
All these organs exist in the normal infant at birth, but they are
relatively insignificant, and it is not until the great developmental
changes peculiar to puberty occur that they begin to exercise their
influence on the shape of the bones. This is proved by the fact that
in those rare cases in which the internal organs of generation are
absent, or fail to develop, there is a corresponding failure in the
pelvis to alter into the normal adult shape. The muscles of the
growing girl partake in the rapid growth and development of her bony
framework. Sometimes the muscles outgrow the bones, causing a peculiar
lankiness and slackness of figure, and in other girls the growth of
the bones appears to be too rapid for the muscles, to which fact a
certain class of "growing pain" has been attributed.

Another part of the body that develops rapidly during these momentous
years is the bust. The breasts become large, and not only add to the
beauty of the girl's person, but also manifestly prepare by increase
of their glandular elements for the maternal function of suckling
infants.

Of less importance so far as structure is concerned, but of great
importance to female loveliness and attractiveness, are the changes
that occur in the clearing and brightening of the complexion, the
luxuriant growth, glossiness, and improved colour of the hair, and the
beauty of the eyes, which during the years which succeed puberty
acquire a new and singularly attractive expression.

The young girl's hands and feet do not grow in proportion with her
legs and arms, and appear to be more beautifully shaped when
contrasted with the more fully developed limb.

With regard to the internal organs, the most important are those of
the pelvis. The uterus, or womb, destined to form a safe nest for the
protection of the child until it is sufficiently developed to maintain
an independent existence, increases greatly in all its dimensions and
undergoes certain changes in shape; and the ovaries, which are
intended to furnish the ovules, or eggs (the female contribution
towards future human beings), also develop both in size and in
structure.

Owing to rapid growth and to the want of stability of the young girl's
tissues, the years immediately succeeding puberty are not only those
of rapid physiological change, but they are those during which
irreparable damage may be done unless those who have the care of young
girls understand what these dangers are, how they are produced, and
how they may be averted.

With regard to the bony skeleton, lateral curvature of the spine is,
in mild manifestation, very frequent, and is too common even in the
higher degrees. The chief causes of this deformity are:

(1) The natural softness and want of stability in the rapidly growing
bones and muscles;

(2) The rapid development of the bust, which throws a constantly
increasing burden on these weakened muscles and bones; and

(3) The general lassitude noticeable amongst girls at this time which
makes them yield to the temptation to stand on one leg, to cross one
leg over the other, and to write or read leaning on one elbow and
bending over the table, whereas they ought to be sitting upright.
Unless constant vigilance is exerted, deformity is pretty sure to
occur--a deformity which always has a bad influence over the girl's
health and strength, and which, in those cases where it is complicated
by the pathological softness of bones found in cases of rickets, may
cause serious alteration in shape and interfere with the functions of
the pelvis in later life.

2. Changes in the Mental Nature.--These are at least as remarkable
as the changes in the bodily framework. There is a slight diminution
in the power of memorising, but the faculties of attention, of
reasoning, and of imagination, develop rapidly. Probably the power of
appreciation of the beautiful appears about this time, a faculty which
is usually dormant during childhood. More especially is this true with
regard to the beauty of landscape; the child seldom enjoys a landscape
as such, although isolated beauties, such as that of flowers, may
sometimes be appreciated.

As might be anticipated, all things are changing with the child during
these momentous years: its outlook on life, its appreciation of other
people and of itself, alter greatly and continuously. The wonderfully
rapid growth and alterations in structure of the generative organs
have their counterpart in the mental and moral spheres; there are new
sensations which are scarcely recognised and are certainly not
understood by the subject: vague feelings of unrest, ill-comprehended
desires, and an intense self-consciousness take the place of the
unconscious egoism of childhood.

The processes of Nature as witnessed in the season of spring have
their counterpart in the changes that occur during the early years of
adolescence. The earth warmed by the more direct rays of the sun and
softened by recurring showers is transformed in a few weeks from its
bare and dry winter garb into the wonderful beauty of spring. This
yearly miracle fails to impress us as it should do because we have
witnessed it every year of our lives, and so, too, the great
transformation from child to budding woman fails to make its appeal to
our understanding and sympathy because it is of so common occurrence.
If it were possible for adults to really remember their own feelings
and aspirations in adolescent years, or if it were possible for us
with enlightened sympathy to gain access to the enchanted garden of
youth, we should be more adequate guides for the boys and girls around
us.



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