Saturday, Oct. 2, 1943
Humanity has wrestled with this question for millennia and come up with an astonishing range of answers, among which was “never.” In the Victorian era, young women thought they were dying when they first began to menstruate and knew nothing about intercourse till, maybe, the night before they got married. At the same time, children growing up in the country had ample opportunity to observe and learn from farm animals and such. Attitudes had changed since then. So, in 1943, columnist Gladys Huntington Bevans advised, “Children’s questions about their origins are quite normal and natural and should be answered promptly, with further information being given as they become older and are ready for it. That is their best protection against misinformation, and establishes a simple, normal attitude toward their bodies, and toward sex as a natural aspect of life.” It’s hard to beat that sage response. Yet ads such as this still made women anxious about their sexuality.