Re: Boy Scouting and Sexual Morality (Part 1)
Tue, 24 Sep 1996 12:15:29 -0400
For those who expressed an interest in what Baden-Powell's views were on
the instruction Scouts on matters of Sexual Morality, I post the following
in two parts (I don't know the message length allowed by Scouts-L). These
are his views on continence from the Self-Discipline section of his
chapter on Heath and Development as it appeared in the 1930 (Revised)
edition of Aids To Scoutmastership. I picked the book up at our local
Trade-O-Ree this weekend.
As charming as is B-P's charge to boys (in Part 2) to guard the germ of
the next generation until it is to be passed to his wife for reproduction,
it does not seem to reflect an understanding of the reproductive cell's
very limited life-span or that the body at that age naturally "throws
away" in nocturnal emissions excesses that have not been already expelled
through unsuccessful bouts with "temptation." How many Sponsoring
Organizations still hold these views?
At any rate the World Brotherhood Edition of Aids To Scoutmastership has
the following disclaimer: This is historical material that does not
always reflect current values, technology, or knowledge. Written in
Victorian-age England, it approaches gender roles and cultural, racial and
religious differences with the societal attitudes of its time and place.
The first aid, water rescue, and winter survival practices described are
out-of-date and inappropriate today. When you present this material, it's
important to include the historical context.
"Continence,--Of all the points in the education of a boy the most
difficult and one of the most important is that of sex hygiene. Body,
mind, and soul, health, morality, and character, all are involved in the
question. It is a matter which has to be approached with tact on the part
of the Scoutmaster, according to the individual character of each case.
It is not as yet dealt with officially by the Education authorities. But
it is one that cannot be ignored in the education of a boy, still less in
that of the girl.
"There is a great barrier of prejudice and false prudery on the part of
parents and public still to be overcome, and this has to be recognised and
handled tactfully. It is, of course, primarily the duty of the parents
to see that their children receive proper instruction, but a very large
number of them shirk their duty and then build up excuses for doing so.
Such neglect is little short of criminal.
"As Dr. Allen Warner writes:--
'Fear has often been expressed in the past that such teaching will lead
to vicious habits, but there is no evidence that this is true, whilst
experience proves that ignorance on the subject has led to the moral and
physical wreckage of many lives.'
"This is only too true, and I can testify from a fairly wide experience
among soldiers and others. The amount of secret immorality that is now
prevalent is very serious indeed.
"The very fact that the subject is taboo between the boy and grown-ups is
provocative, and the usual result is that he gets his knowledge, in a most
perverted form, from another boy.
"In What a Boy Should Know, Drs. Shofield and Jackson, write:-- 'The
sexual development of boys is gradual, and it is an unfortunate fact that
habits of abuse are begun and constantly practised at a much younger age.
If safety lies in the adage that 'to be forewarned is to be forearmed,'
then boys must be told what is coming to them, for the critical period of
puberty lies ahead of them, and no boy should be allowed to reach it in
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City