CSAA Annual Conference: Sexual behavior and social ethics; Reel 3 Prof. Donham continued and Prof. Lester A. Kirkendall "The Search for a Meaningful Sexual Ethics"
They might serve as a more southern more basic goal namely to move to a more authentic level of understanding and acceptance by adults and used in areas of constant consensus and conflict within the totality of their life experience. Freedom du refers to this as a quest for authenticity. He implies that the real dialogue between the generations in issues such as sexual intercourse can lead to social intercourse in which there was profound payoffs of both worlds. You can gain by conveying to adults that in many instances sex is only part of his total view of life. He can also begin to develop a more accurate perception of the older generation for the adult. The gains could include a clearer perception of the teenage world and his the adults relationship to it and a growing awareness that use can be allies rather than adversaries and nonparticipation rather than non participants in creating a saner world. Finally I would like to
stress that I visualize these types of group groups as being suited primarily for the cross section of the adult population. The so-called normal group. It may be that really disturbed the alienated individuals could not manage the anxiety and expression of feelings with such an exchange is a likely to generate particularly at the initial stage of confrontation. Even many better put together individuals are likely to choose not to go beyond the initial stage. However the majority probably will will elect to do so for the simple reason that underlying the suspicion and anger or misunderstanding which both possess there's likely to be found a wish to trust understand and love in the final analysis. These are the elements which will enable our best values to survive even though we may not always be able to implement them effectively and consistently to this extent. There is reason to hope that the prevailing generation's gap
can be supplanted by a more meaningful and real partnership between the generations. Thank you. Thank you. When outlining the various approaches to this overall topic some many months ago the committee was searching for the most able person to treat this very vital and complex segment of the relationship of social pressures to sexual behavior. And Professor Dunham was the person so strongly recommended. I'm sure you would agree that his exploration of the issues with such clarity and realism fulfills those expectations. We are indeed grateful to you
Professor Denham mousehole comment on just a couple of the points. That I think. And considering the the reason at all for having an annual conference. Child Study Association believes that it is not just an exercise as valuable as it may be in one given day but rather often does provide the stimulus for ongoing new development and I'm sure that you've given us a great deal to consider in that respect Dr. Denham. Anyone who has been at all involved in programs of sex education and education for family living worked in the field of family relationships has known of Dr. Lester a Kirchen dollars contribution to this field. He is professor of family life at Argan State University and currently a visiting professor at the University of
Kansas Medical Center. He is eminently qualified to address us on that shall I say climactic subject of the morning session. The search for a meaningful social ethics doctor can go. Ladies and gentlemen staff of the child study Association. And Dr. Mark Miller. I am very pleased to be able to build upon the two presentations which have preceded mine. I find in them a little to question and certainly much to support the point of view which I would like to present particularly I am thinking of the analysis of the situation as it has been made of the trends which are developing. And I'm particularly pleased with
the basic optimism which I think has pervaded the point of view of both of the preceding speakers. So I hope that you will assume that I am building upon. What has already been said. I also must say that. The title only search for a meaningful sex ethic as it was put in your program. I may translate occasionally into the word mar all that is synonymous with ethic are morality and ethical behavior synonymous. If you do I hope you will recognize that I'm really using the terms in this manner. Now if we are to find a meaningful sex ethic it seems to me that three things are necessary in the first place.
I think we must develop a more insightful and penetrating concept of what constitutes ethical or moral behavior. It seems to me that there are several feet of the common or problem concept which need examination in the first place. I think thought whenever we speak of morals and particular LAYON we speak of immorality our own as. A lack of ethics we are likely to think that it is focused in the sexual right. Actually I think that it is much broader than that. I basically our ethical concept must pervade the warp and woof of society. Yet as I say we talk and act as though it was something simply within the realm of the trial. We also speak as though it was something sort of plastered
all a poultice so to speak are that it is something which we might observe when it suits our convenience. Illustrative of these two points of view. Not long ago I received a letter from a magazine which was preparing a tyran article which would feature series of comments on the mall situation in the United States and it dealt all the gals that are with the youth sexual question as they asked me to pick one from 20 questions and comment on it briefly. As I went over them I found one question which read. Aside from possible harmful effect is it morally right or wrong to engage in premarital intercourse. So I selected this particular question. It started out by saying in essence in essence Well what is
morality if it is aside from all the harm we may do one another. If that is forgotten then what is it. As I say I think a kind of a plastered on sort of concept. I have here also a. New story which I took from the Kansas City Star of yesterday morning. I suspect this has been appearing in your newspapers. It's an AP story on charting the credibility gap and it has to do with the discussion of the extent to which government officials lie. And this is the expression here and I think justified to people in order to support a particular image or point of view which they are trying to develop. I noticed one. Sub caption in here. Is morality versus necessity.
Which again it seems to me suggests that morality is something nice that doesn't inconvenience you particularly when the. Chips are down. And then of course we don't think of this yet I think that this story can serve to illustrate another point and that is that we think that this issue of ethics ethical behavior is something which is localized in our youth population. Actually I think that what this suggests it suggests that it is a problem our total culture. We have basically to rethink our concepts about this whole matter. For example it discusses here what happened when the U-2 was shot down and present
President Eisenhower first denied that there was any such. Aircraft cruising the Bay of Pigs. As discussed these three and. Three tenths million. Bribe to the priming of Prime Minister of Singapore. This is mention to all of them exemplifying the fact that at the governmental life the use of deception has. Been very free yet less than a year ago or or about a year ago we were involved in the Air Force Academy scam in which over a. Hundred cadet were expelled for cheating on examinations and in one of the news stories the statement was that they were expelled for BIS marching their own and their country's honor. Now I submit that in terms of what the story says that these
cadets were showing a real aptitude. For. What rules the handoff. Who can blame. You for being confused. Who can continue to say that the moral problem is a youth problem. Our difficulty I think is that we have submitted too easily to hypoxia to double talk to split level living and I'm not talking about suburbia. Here. This same confusion extends into our sexual realm of course. I give you incident after incident but just one quick one a year or so ago while the oh this was the week that was was still on. I happened to tune in on one evening and heard the commentator speaking about a conference which I
attended. They quoted one of the speakers there saying and this quote is not strictly right by the way but the quotation went this way. But the speaker said. He didn't see anything wrong with premarital sexual intercourse as long as the participants enjoyed it. And so after making this quote the. Narrator looked very intently over the through the TV to the audience and said Now all of you teenagers out there who are not enjoying it. Cut it out. Now. This is funny. And I laughed at myself. I think that sex has a place for humor. But the thing that concerns me is that we have opened our culture for this kind of openness this kind of amusement
exploitation in which we live out of existence. Standards and principles which I think along with Mr. Ghanem are in many instances essentially what do we have not yet come to the point were we do what is necessary to help think through. An ethic which would enable us to live in a culture in which we find ourselves. It seems to me that one of our problems is to drive our ethical and moral thinking and act into some basic foundation which goes beyond specific action patterns which rests on a comprehensive view of what we are as human beings and what we want out of ourselves and our relationships. I have suggested in some of my writing that it seems to me and this is not new nor original I want to. Make that
point of view clear immediately. But I have suggested that. I think our concern must rest in a consideration for the quality of relationship since we are able and wish to develop in our families in our communities and ultimately I think that are nice in a way. In other words when a decision or a choice is to be made concerning behavior I think that the moral decision will be the one which works toward the creation of trust confidence and integrity in relationships. The decision should increase the capacity of individuals to cooperate and enhance the sense of self respect at the end of age. This particular point of view was the kernel of the Aston's of the framework in which I did the research which eventually did in my book premarital intercourse and interpersonal relationships.
I also brought with me a number of. This a number of copies of this handout which I now recognize and as I look at this audience is going to be just about half enough. But I did. Attempt to elaborate. Point of view I've been speaking on the last couple of minutes. In this particular outlaw as. The title interpersonal relationships a basis for moral decision making. And I have. Found I have confidence that you and adults once they are pushed to the point where they recognize the importance of this approach to them self and to their families and to their community begin to search for and accept a very different sexual ethic than we sometimes think they will. In short I would say the day is past when we can think of morals and
ethics as we did at the turn of the century moral concern at that time was centered very large in or around the existence of certain vice drinking dancing card playing in the major one was sex. The sexual moral code was based upon a specific list of acts which fitted the preconceptions of a homogeneous community. This code was imposed on up held by stern religious teachings and imposed deterrence. Some of which were at that time quite threatening and so were actually realistic targets. I think this is Che. A meaningful sex ethic must now be derived as a meaningful human ethic. We need an ethical approach which will encompass all human capacities and which will cut across cultural ethnic racial and sex lines and which will have a universal meaning we need in short an ethic which will help us survive in the kind of world we have created. I was interested in
moaning and Dr Eisenberg's paper. He suggested that. And this was true also I think of Mr Dent that a part of the moral confusion and difficulty arose from the intensity of emotions and confusions that is part of the collision between the generations. But I you see I have been adding the concept that our total cultural situation has to be taken into account. And. I also wanted to say this that ultimately I think as we develop such will I think it must come through consensus from interchange from analysis from the way in evaluating of sexual experiences in the army. Yes. I was very pleased with the comments which Mr. Dunham had to make in regard to the plate of group and group interaction. He spoke of the therapeutic type of group. I would extend that also to the individual
face to face situation in which teachers and youth leaders work with individuals. And this connection I brought along with me a second handout and then the graft statement which I know is in short supply. But it does outlaw a situation in which I had the privilege of working with a youth here who I think through this therapeutic procedure actually developed a very different attitude towards his sexuality toward. I. Had a very different pattern of behavior and a different attitude toward life in general and I think we must say that we can't change our attitudes towards sex and sexuality and tell it said in the context of a philosophy of life. Now for my first major plot the Second here
is that I think a different conceptualization of sex is needed. We have on the one hand the restrictive and repressive concept. And I think this is not one which I need to elaborate on at any great length for an audience of this sort. It is the one which I think essentially has stripped to restrict and subdue sexual expression to deny. It all to the marriage state and which has defined sexual expression. Very largely as premarital intercourse. So with. That. Carrot. Approach. No we think that today we are having a second approach churches that have been developed particularly through the mass media and which is a reflection of the fact that when the openness developed tickler following the publication of Dr. Kinsey's
reports on the openness developed those of us who ought to have been ready with a positive affective educational approach. We're not there. We're not ready. And the mass media moved away with what they had to offer. And so now we have what seems to me to be the second approach is sort of a sex for sex sake approach. You know when you mention these these seem to be extremes of a continuum the very repressive and restrictive at the very open. And ultra liberal. If you want to call it that yet I think when you begin to examine them they are very much alive. Both are obsessed with sex as an end in itself. And. The one you must not in the other you must. Both are rigid and demanding. Neither seem really to see or to be concerned with for the fulfilled human be. And so I want to
suggest the development of a third approach. And this is the one which it seems to me we must follow. We must work. I would call it the integration approach that is the integration of sex and all of our past because I would lie when I were talking about sexuality to recognise that it's only one of our capacities one of our potential. But the integration of these capacities into a rich full rounded life. Speaking of sex there is time for expression. There is a time for denial and let us look at both. Sex is a factor which has significance throughout our life span. Not simply in youth but in. Middle age old age as well. Let us recognize light. I think
that one of the important things is the ability as teachers and as leaders to put sex in a context in which it becomes a part of a touch embrace relationship. Now what sexual expression kind of occur outside this kind this concept. Of course this is one of the problems that it does occur so much outside. But I found that having a great deal of meaning far the young people with whom I work to comment. Actually sexual expression is perhaps an ultimate expression but is now an expression of the kind of touch embrace relationship which we like throughout life whenever we care for someone pervert or husband or
wife. How grandpa and Bryant male male female female We like to touch you like complete us. We. This is a way of communicating it's a way of saying something to want to know. Yet. We have turned sex and cue such a thing. I isolated episodic kind of experienced that were no longer able to see it as an integral aspect of this kind of relationship. So all I'm. Saying. A new conceptualization of sex is the second they need the third. I think this will mean that we have to have a new way of looking at sex education. Mr Denham May I have my watch I can't see the time here and I thank you. This new way of looking at sex education.
We have approached sex education typically as something to be told or given to you by adults who are authorities because they are adults. And as far as the ethic is concerned it is something which is imposed from the outside and above. By deductive process. Study after study the experience of individuals I think has proved that this is a limited and adequate concept of sexuality and not affective really a motivating behavior. A very interesting study which. It was completed in England just last summer. Attempted you ascertain the importance the value the value of sex education in the influencing a behavior. This is a study sexual behavior in use by Michael Scofield. And his conclusion
was so loud it had very little effect. Now that I think is because as I said a while ago we've imposed from the outside it's been a didactic kind of experience. I think coming back. Has already been noted a couple of times that sex education must be something lived. Something. Which is well something talked about verbalize but something lived through the experiences which are developed in the interaction situation the therapeutic group about which Mr. Denham spoke the individual face to face interaction which I was trying to outline in the article I spoke about a moment ago how this would not me. It was. That we forgot reproductive education. Factual information about biology and physiology. But it would me. We began a really serious effort to look at
sex as an integral part of functioning relationships. I think another thing which would be necessary is that we would have to recognize that sex or that sex education is given to youth who are now in a free choice situation. This ideally was one of the major changes that I have been able to see in my own life as a high school and a college student. There were youth. Who broke over the conventional but I think that there was much more the sense of transgression and violation than is now the case. I think the young people today are open enough and they are free enough. They recognize that this matter of what they will do about sexuality and sexual participation is a represents a choice which they will sometime make maybe not just once but a number of times. For example a study which I have been doing just a kind of a
pilot preliminary study I interviewed a hundred thirty one college level made about the choice which they had made made to accept intercourse to reject it to try for it and be rejected by a potential partner. Q. Talk through with a potential partner. A pattern which was acceptable to both in this. Particular category nonparticipation. I found that on the average each of these individuals listed five and a half such decision making experience only six out of the 130 Watt had not had that kind of a situation with which to contain. And so I think that we have to recognize a free choice situation. I think that adults often might wish it was otherwise but I regard this as a factor in our culture which will not change as it is organized. This is a reversal.
The question is whether we can. And will recognize that young people are making these choices and then will we as individuals weigh evaluate discussed and finally help them get the essential insight which will aid them in the decisions they make. One might generalize that way as to what might be involved with the freedom to choose circumstance was taken seriously. However I think it was interesting really exemplified by an illustration which I picked up in a family planning clinic at Stockholm Sweden last summer. The social worker in charge of the division which is dispensing contraceptive information and devices told me that it was not uncommon for parents to ask for appointments for their adolescent children come down to the clinic and discuss questions involved in such a decision making and the use of contraceptives they also had a room which they used to accommodate
- Reel 3 Prof. Donham continued and Prof. Lester A. Kirkendall "The Search for a Meaningful Sexual Ethics"
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- APA: CSAA Annual Conference: Sexual behavior and social ethics; Reel 3 Prof. Donham continued and Prof. Lester A. Kirkendall "The Search for a Meaningful Sexual Ethics" . Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-p26q3r2w