The First Sex-Ed Course

February 17, 2013 in Trivia

Sex Spelled in Children's Blocks

Q: When was sex education first offered as a subject in school?

A: The first sex-ed course was offered as part of the curriculum at Abbots-Holme School of England by its first headmaster, Cecil Reddie, starting in Oct. 1889. Reddie offered two reasons for this innovation: “to prevent mental illusions due to false ideas from within; to prevent false teachings from other fellows.”

Abbot’s curriculum divided boys into three age categories: 10-13, 13-16 and 16-20. The first were to be “taught the true facts of their origin”. The second were to be taught “the laws of the feelings they now experience…best at this period that they should think as little as possible about these matters”. The last, or “after puberty” group, were to be taught “the later laws of life, so that they will enter the world equipped on this point”.

Though seemingly a lone voice on the subject, Reddie attracted little opposition at the time.

The first state-sponsored courses on sex education were introduced in Breslau, Prussia c. 1900. School authorities requested Dr. Martin Chotzen to deliver lectures on sexual hygiene, covering the anatomy of sexual organs, perversions and  development of sexual instincts. Delivered to 150 teachers they were intended to educate on “the importance of the cultivation of self-control”.