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A History of Sexuality in Ireland [1]: Sex in the Sixties

24 July 2009, 08:37

Sex In The Sixties: What About Ireland?

Hi, I'm going to post up snippets of interesting information with regards to some aspects of Irish Sexuality as it has been understood since Independence in 1922.
Obviously, that date isn't fixed and some earlier stuff may emerge as being instrumental in later stuff...

So: As I come across them...

The following is an extract from a pamphlet written in 1969 by a woman called Angela McNamara.

It was distributed through the publishing and marketing channels of the Catholic church and was widely available around schools, colleges, churches and family homes. It would have been held in high-regard by many as a valuable blueprint for living.

Angela MacNamara was understood by a significantly large proportion of the population as being an authority of matters sexual and reproductive all through the sixties and seventies in Ireland.
Her best-seller Ready Steady Grow! Preparing with Young People for Life. has had two reprints.
She has also produced two videos on sex education, for girls and for boys.

For this extract I make no comment nor analysis of my own; I feel the message speaks for itself.


[Editors Introduction:] Angela MacNamara (1931 - ), who wrote an advice column for the Sunday Press newspaper was perhaps the most influential agony aunt in Irish journalism in the 1960s, promulgating a conservative Catholic position on the family and sexuality.

Ironically, despite the conservative nature of her views, her willingness to discuss sexuality, and sexual problems at all, was considered outrageous by some readers.

She visited schools giving advice about sexuality and family life, and had enormous influence, partly through her pamphlet My Dear Daughter, which was published by the Catholic Truth Society and distributed to schoolgirls throughout the country in the sixties and the seventies. In other pamphlets, such as How to Choose a Wife (1967), she advocated a life of constraint and self-sacrifice for the wife and mother which few young women would readily accept today. The following extract is taken from a pamphlet giving advice to young people, particularly girls, on sexuality and conception.

from: Living and Loving (1969)

[...]
'A young person who, all through childhood, has been trained to behave in a controlled and considerate way in every circumstance, will react to his sexuality in a controlled and unselfish way. All the technical knowledge available on human reproduction (or what is commonly called ‘the facts of life’ will not save a boy or girl from answering selfishly and prematurely the demands of their sexual emotions.'
[...]
'The only thing that will save a young couple from anticipating the sexual rights of married people is their love of God, their love and respect for one another, and their desire to help each other to follow God’s plan for mankind.
In countries where the facts of procreation have been explained and illustrated to very young children without accompanying instruction in knowing and serving God, the rate of promiscuity continues to be alarming. People respect and love their fellow men when they respect and love God.'
[...]
‘The boy who tells a girl (or shows by his actions) that he cannot control himself and that he must have sexual fulfilment with her, is not a responsible or loving person. He doesn’t care for the girl as a person, but only as a body for his use. He is still a child, self-loving and unready to consider and respect others. Whether he is thirteen or twenty he is not old enough to be responsible for the well-being of another.'
[...]
'It is in the nature of man to be the aggressor, the one who initiates. He is the one who asks for a dance, invites a girl on a date (she shouldn’t telephone him!), makes the first move towards friendship and later the initial move towards expressing physical feeling (i.e. holding hands, kissing and moderate signs of affection). And of course, the man proposes marriage, even in the Leap Year! However there are limits to his rights. By dating a girl a man has not got an automatic right to kiss her. Nor can he ‘buy’ her company for an evening by buying her a mineral at a dance.'
[...]
'The sexual appetite was designed to draw a man and woman close together so that they would unite their bodies in sexual intercourse, and procreate children. The further a couple go in lovemaking the greater will grow their desire for the climax (intercourse). Nature has made them this way. Therefore if we may not have the climax, the wise and good thing to do is to keep as far from the climax as possible, which means keeping the lovemaking at a minimum'.
*****

Angela Mc Namara's last book on sex and sexuality in Ireland is a short 30 page publication called 'Will Our Children Build Healthy Relationships?' published in 1999.

Her last published work was in 2003 and is of an autobiographical nature: 'Yours sincerely - Angela McNamara'


Source. The Republic of Ireland: The Politics of Sexuality. 1965-2000
Ursula Barry and Clair Wills, Editors - NB: their introduction to the piece is used. .
In: 'The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing: Vol V'
pp. 1409-1419

More later ...

6 Comments
Jupiterkid
25 July 2009 @ 13:50

Interesting. But Ireland was literally decades behind the rest of the developed world on matters sexual in the 1960s. We were a deeply immature nation.

Don't forget the infamous "nightie" incident on the Late Late Show circa 1967.
Erytheis
25 July 2009 @ 16:59

I was given "Ready, Steady, Grow" as a youngin' it was laughable, even then to me.
Intrepid
27 July 2009 @ 22:08

The boy who tells a girl (or shows by his actions) that he cannot control himself and that he must have sexual fulfilment with her, is not a responsible or loving person. He doesn’t care for the girl as a person, but only as a body for his use. He is still a child, self-loving and unready to consider and respect others. Whether he is thirteen or twenty he is not old enough to be responsible for the well-being of another.'


We were told exactly this.

Be careful, boys and men cannot control themselves...
Blah
30 August 2009 @ 22:29

The only thing that will save a young couple from anticipating the sexual rights of married people is their love of God, their love and respect for one another, and their desire to help each other to follow God’s plan for mankind.
In countries where the facts of procreation have been explained and illustrated to very young children without accompanying instruction in knowing and serving God, the rate of promiscuity continues to be alarming. People respect and love their fellow men when they respect and love God.'



Ah.... voir Paris et mourir...
... from Syphillis.
Jupiterkid
1 September 2009 @ 01:59

This is a good blog. Are you going to add to it Perry Cormo?
St. Perry Cormo
1 September 2009 @ 02:21

Next few days J.K.
I'm working on the next one at the mo.
My problem, as always, is trying to keep blogs short.