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WBA resents birth control today. Freedom and responsibility. This is a series of programmes about birth control and how it affects us and our society. Today we will discuss the new morality. What is the new sexual freedom is a really new or has it been around for a long time. Are the American people becoming liberated from Victorian prudery or are we facing a moral and social breakdown. The availability of new and effective birth control methods is bound to have had some effect on us. Richard Stiller of the population crisis spoke with Dr. William K. rash bomb an obstetrician and gynecologist about some of the changes brought about by the pill. Dr. rash Bohm is chief of family planning service at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York and senior clinical instructor of obstetrics and gynecology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine 62 really something like 11 years.
Have you seen any change in you that you don't think. In my private I think. A decade back and in me same effect to a slight risk. The fact is that there are considerably fewer patients who are pregnant by action and conversely few more patients who are pregnant by design. I think this is seen in the clinic and the private and I think that may not be great extension. I think that we see in the figures that are coming in from the national population figures that there is a reduction. Do you see a change in attitudes towards sex and marriage flowing from this period. Contraceptives have been in wide use. There has been a number of years a gradual emancipation of the
female in terms. Sexual activity. Do women really need sex more and more women as the years go by. Getting real gratification and enjoyment from a sexual act. I think the pill has been a major contributor to this back in that day many women to function sexually without fear of threat. Do you see any changes coming in the next 10 years. I think that every generation as it has changes in the mores and perhaps the post-war generation in particular has made more striking changes in terms of sexual behavior. I think that if it is survive as we know it in any meaningful form there must be a family in a family which is in meaningful action. I don't think the pill because it is becoming more and more accepted is going to contribute to a
diety. I do think that the change that one might expect to occur in the near future. Probably not many. Where the new morality exists is in the openness about sex in areas in places that were closed before such as churches family magazines legislatures TV films and schools. It's in the eagerness to learn information and to discuss it. Men and women feel more comfortable being around each other being themselves and expressing mutual affection. Some of these new attitudes are finding their way into more liberalized dorm policies on coeducational campuses. At some 200 colleges and universities men and women are permitted to live unrestricted in the same dormitories and even in the most conservative and rural schools. Some relaxation of parietal rules is underway. Those who are worried about an upsurge of promiscuity will be relieved to know that so far liberalize dorm rules have not prompted a campus sex explosion. College administrators contend that the new policies have
encouraged little sexual activity that would not have happened anyway. Producer university has approved a guest hours program in residence halls fraternities sororities and co-operative houses. University officials have commented that the university feels the produce student body is sufficiently mature and considerate of the feelings of other students to accept such a policy. Deans Beverley stone and ody Roberts said the experience at produce seems to indicate in most instances when students have been given responsibility for the handling of increased freedom they have measured up to the university's expectations. In addition our study of other University shows that abuses of such programs have been minimal. There are some people who show fear and concern over these new policies. They feel the new morality is leading to irresponsible behavior not to Roger C. for a professor of health education in the Department of Physical Education for men at Purdue spoke to a group of health educators about premarital sexual standards in America today. Let's hear what he has to say about the new morality.
The question that I would like to raise and spend some time with is whether or not these doubts and this kind of this panic is indeed justified. Are we encouraging if not condoning greater sexual freedom by relaxing some of the traditional rules regulations. What about the reports that you hear of college men and women being able to spend some time together in dormitories. I don't some university health centers give birth control pills have in some college chaplains sermonize down the potential values of premarital sexual intercourse for college girls. Is there really a sexual revolution going on in the hearts and the minds of young people today. Because the question is being raised as to whether or not in our culture premarital sex is no sin. The Puritan ethic in other words is no longer the dominant force relegating the lives that premarital conduct of modern Americans.
This Scarlet Letter Days of Hester are dead. And I think with many happy pall bearers and very few mourners the we're now engaged in a real religious and ethical debate over sex is a potentially constructive versus destructive force in modern life as opposed to a simple yes no answer based on a Puritan ethics OK. In fact many people no longer consider premarital sexual intercourse to be a sin. So you find maybe that there is just cause for alarm. Maybe for panic because we seem to be adrift in a sea of sexual permissiveness. We've changed for example from a somewhat and a hypocritical sex denying to an openly sex seeking culture. Sex is larger than life itself some authors have called it as a half god of the American people today and maybe they have a point because you don't have to go far for it for
evidence. The local movies for example are so much skin going on there now that they make jokes about seeing each other in clothes when the Oscars are given out. The books the magazines the way we dress now it's all toward a much more sexually permissive atmosphere at best. Many first half fermented these changes in our older sexual morality. We've changed from a rural agricultural to an urban industrialized society. And this does make a difference because you run into new codes new ways of thinking and the exchange of information is so much more rapid. Modern science has helped to bring about a religious decline for many and secularization in Western culture. The World Wars for example have dehumanised us to a certain extent. Automobiles have destroyed the direct parental
supervision and their chaperonage. For example a recent study has indicated that 40 percent of illegitimate impregnation is in other words pregnant before marriage take place in automobiles. Forty two percent. Jet travel another brought us into contact with other codes of sexual morality we're no longer isolated we can enjoy the luxury of our own little self centered small world and then the economic this sexual emancipation of women. They have taken the initiative a little bit. So what we're running into now is a new sex standard in America. In America we have upheld in principle the traditional thermal single standard. For premarital sexual abstinence for both men and women. In other words sex is for marriage. But
in practice we have followed and given tacit approval to the double standard with much greater freedom allocated to the male. Certainly much more than for the female. But now a new sex standard is emerging in America as a challenge to this old double standard. And many are calling it such as Reese permissiveness with affection. Now let's point out first of all that there's a very wide difference of opinion among those who advocate this new standard in place of the old. Some seem to interpret it as complete sexual freedom bordering on free love for both men and women. Now others link up the new standard with social and moral responsibility. There are some guidelines particularly along humanistic and religious beliefs. Most if not all of the adherents to the new standard
affection permissiveness with affection at Heron's believe that it is the pragmatic the personal social consequences of the premarital sex act not the sex act per se that should be judged moral or immoral. So the real shift I think has been in reference to this new standard has been away from the sex act per se and has been focused on the personal the social consequences of premarital sex and there's a difference because in the first hand is a real simple dogmatic Yes no ok on the second. It calls for thought considerations responsibility. Now suppose a young unmarried college man women want to express their mutual affection by having sexual intercourse how do they decide other words according to
this new standard whether their sexual behavior is going to be moral or immoral because this is the guideline that we want to put the emphasis on of that that the new standard wants to put emphasis on. Do we do it by category based on the old standard or category goals. Yes based on the new standards kick and all. Professor of family life. Oregon State University. So is that their choice should be made on the basis of a rational decision using several guidelines and he has a list of seven and what they amount to is that it's a moral decision that works toward the development of self respect mutual trust and commitment integrity self fulfillment and improvement and interpersonal relationships this kind of thing. You get the constructive atmosphere that he's trying to build there knows it go toward this end. And if you can justify it on the basis of this then he would say that you have justifiable reasons for premarital sex.
Some high minded individuals or liberals feel that maybe this is a further step toward a humane democratic individual ism. Others see it as a utopia but let's face it it's pretty impractical this is the view that they would give. Unfortunately many young people seem to see this way of thought as an open invitation to engage in kritis. And I don't think that this is the meaning of the new morality or the intent at all. So some authors such as prophet Berger believes that we're maybe cheating our young people a little bit if we talk about the new standard and we don't have any built interest directions. Because he believes that a sexual code has to be reinforced by sanctions to be effective. Everybody just doesn't not operate as an island unto himself.
And therefore just improvement in interpersonal relationships between the two people. All right should not be used as the only criterion of moral sexual behavior. In fact others have found that when students themselves are confronted that they don't want to this way either and they don't feel that it is going to be affective just a wide open door. Young people evidently want some kind of guidelines they just do not want a wide open door with nothing to guide them. I think it's one other weakness that we might mention in reference to kick in doors position and that is we've got to face the fact that sexual behavior certainly human sexual behavior is not entirely a rational matter. Now if it were maybe we could weigh the good the evil and come up with a nice rational logical decision. But sexual choices come from the heart as well as the head.
And let's face it sexual encounters in real life they often involve liquor excitement social rebellion. It's an expression of some deep seated conflict for some people. It's an irrational impulse on the part of others. It's a conscious need for some to prove himself or themselves as a man or a woman. And in situations like this a lot of young people are finding out that cold reason is often no match for passionate desire and they get carried away to the point of no return or return despite their firm convictions or their high standards or a mutual decision not to. One other thing. Despite the intended humaneness of the new sex he will standard. Greater sexual freedom for women. Availability of contraception.
The college girl or the young female is still more vulnerable than her male counterpart despite her worthy efforts toward greater and more ethical sex equality. The men are still more equal than the women in sexual matters. Men don't get pregnant women do. And if an unmarried 20th century American girl gets pregnant she is still faced with a 19th century morality much to her shock surprise if she's lucky the loving couple get married they live happily ever after. Either way she's faced with a pretty grim choice. Shotgun wedding illegal abortion or becoming a mother without joy bearing the illegitimate child. And then she can try to raise it alone. Extremely difficult. Or put it up for adoption. All of them are rather tragic choices in my opinion. So all college women young women are still held to a stricter sexual cold than the
college men. None of this is to is intended to condone sexual exploitation and irresponsibility on the part of men young men college men. This isn't the point at all. In fact the emphasis would be that they should share a greater responsibility particularly in the decision making sex conduct and on the part of the young couple Condell found unfortunately that premarital sexual intercourse was in varying degrees exploitive in nature in 82 percent of the college males included in his research study. Now we may have something better to say about ourselves as men on the basis of some more recent work by the Family Service Association of America and they looked at a rather neglected character the unwed father and I'm going to give you some of their findings because I find the rather
interesting as well as pertinent. We find it. That despite all the talks of sexual promiscuity the irresponsibility on the part of the males so on and so forth that this may not be the situation at all in this particular study of unwed mothers and fathers nearly half of the unmarried fathers reported that the sex act in which conception had occurred was their first full sexual experience. The girl was usually a virgin too. Significantly and we're building a little bit of a case for the boys now. The boys surveyed did not criticize the girls for becoming pregnant only five percent felt that the pregnancy was the girl's fault. Two thirds acknowledge that they had to share the blame. Ten percent accepted all the blame themselves. While 18 percent simply considered the pregnancy bad luck you would have had some
dramatically different statistics a generation or two ago. The survey uncovered another break with tradition a generation ago it was widely accepted that men favored abortions as the best solution to the unwanted pregnancy. Today nearly nine out of 10 unwed fathers were against abortion. Only a very slim majority of the unmarried fathers 53 percent in fact believed in letting Vera baby and that's what they call it their baby. Only 53 percent believed or consented to let it be put up for adoption. Almost 58 percent help to pay for the girl's maternity expenses. 60 percent of the unwed fathers went to see their babies in the hospital and showed very surprisingly strong paternal feelings. Some of these kids were not tried to get jobs and put the family together out of the deal that they couldn't make and a couple of them two of them had.
Some real psychological problems because they couldn't keep their kid. Found that many of the unmarried fathers suffer traumatic experiences when compelled to give up their babies for adoption. Well what does this show if anything I think that all the talk about the lowering of standards in the in the direction of casual promiscuous and irresponsible sex is just not factual. It's true these boys and girls have experienced a life tragedy in this particular report but what happened to them was was the result not of a wild promiscuous fling but rather the product of a close emotional relationship. And that far from being irresponsible the behavior of the boys is extraordinarily responsible. Their standards are much higher than those of their fathers 20 years ago who subscribe to the double standards insisted that the girls were always at
fault and then walked out on them. We've talked about the boys a little bit let's take a look at the girls. Apparently the emerging sexual standard of permissiveness with affection has not yet markedly influenced young women to go the whole way in sex prior to marriage. In other words to the best of my ability and from my experience in the in the review of literature in this area it would seem to be almost unanimous that roughly 25 percent or less of American college girls are non-virgin and about 75 percent are. Now there have been some subtle shifts in the non-virgin population. The most dramatic one actually occurred following World War 1 when the in when there was a rather sharp increase in non virginity. But since then it
has leveled off and stabilized and not changed dramatically in either direction. Now this promiscuous question comes up once in a while when we're talking about a non-virgin we're not talking about promiscuity. And I'd like to make a clear cut distinction between these two terms. Promiscuity is what allows indiscriminate behavior OK indiscriminate behavior and we could probably have a classification there of 4 percent or less of the American college age women as being promiscuous and we've found a little bit of a shift in the non-virgin that is off today of actually being all that she is a non-virgin actually hurt her. The premarital sexual intercourse is usually linked to going steady and being in love OK. And in the vast majority of cases restricted to the Future husband.
And I think this is important because too often we just look at Virgin non-virgin Grif you non-virtual in your very bad kind of a person. But if we want to take a look at the night non virginity we still find commitment. We still find in the personal relations as being the ultimate are the main concern at least for the female. In other words college girls play for keeps. The new morality is not only affecting the attitudes of young men and women but also the doctors who are MANY TIMES ask to be advisers or counselors as well as physicians. Dr. Robert Gould is senior psychiatrist in charge of Adolescent Services at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. A staff member of the population crisis asked him if he has a doctor would prescribe pills or other contraceptives to a young unmarried girl. I would first want to discuss with you what she
feels what hope in life. I would really want to know all about her thinking and the circumstances in our life even as I would if she wanted an aspirin. But she wanted to try for life. I wouldn't give those without discussing the full life situation I had and if I find that the angst is going to be acting out sexually in a way that's going to be so destructive then I would try to talk with this person about the whole meaning of sex. But in the final. Out of the last of that. It was no way of stopping her from having sexual activity. I would be applied to try to give her a kind help at least to prevent it from hurting us so more. So that I would find out. Prescribe pills or make them available to someone who was about to enter into sexual activity anyway. Here is Dr loyal Combs giving the student health centers policy on produce campus.
We have not taken a negative attitude about contraception on this campus because I think it's important in student life that they be able to discuss this at the BE ABLE of Aylan cells of information they be able to avail themselves of medical information and prescription if necessary but I don't feel that that students in college are children anymore. I mean I think that there are adults. I think the time in our life has come for them to make adult decisions and I think that we as adults should be able to sit down and discuss it. I have had girls that needed counseling a lot more than in need of contraception and these girls are very much aware of it. But there is no doubt in my mind after having been here for 15 years that some girls are in love they are psychologically adjusted to what your situation is and it's not my right as a physician to judge them and they want help and I think they have the right to come and ask for help. Nah I'm not saying that everybody comes is going to get
oral contraception but I certainly think they ought to have the right to talk about it to see whether they physically so forth qualify at a later date Dr. Combs discussed with the new morality is all about. He summed it up this way. Well I think many people have a lot of different interpretations of the expression of new morality I think some people would go so far as to say that this is total sexual freedom and having a great sexual revolution in our society to the point. What other people feel that there hasn't been any change. Now I'm certain that there have been changes in the attitude of our youth today as far as sex is concerned but I would would like to point out very definitely that I. Having worked on a college campus for maybe 15 years. Really have a very high regard for the for the morals of college people not in my way of thinking that the real sexual
revolution on the campus today is that that young people nor longer want to be denied information. And they and they feel very very strongly about this that they believe that they have the right to discuss anything. And I think that I'm certainly a problem to agree with them. And I spend many hours for instance in sorority houses and co-op where we have an open frank discussion of contraception sex. Etc.. I've made this statement several times and I believe it that if you take 5000 or 7000 girls that are of the age that we have on this campus and you go to Chicago or Indianapolis or Cleveland or any large city or any city and you take 7000 girls of this age group out of those cities and I bet you'll have a higher incidence of VD and illegitimate pregnancies and so forth and you have on a college campus I know you will. So having worked on a conference
God campus I still I still maintain that I think that we've got a good moral society and I think the sexual revolution is talking about it the eagerness to learn. Let's have frank discussions about sex. I think that these young people today are deeply concerned about the population explosion. And I don't think they're just jumping on the baggage bandwagon. And I think that they feel that this is very definitely related to pollution. And this is going to be their country in this world that they're going to inherit going inherit for their children. And I really I really believe that. They have a very frank and very honest opinions about this and I think that we're obligated to discuss all the science with them. In reality. This has been birth control today. Freedom and responsibility. The next programme in the series will discuss the why and how sex education special guests today were Dr. Roger pastor of health education at Purdue
and Dr. Lowell Combs produced student health center director. The series was written and produced by Colleen Gary and narrated by David Banda recording engineers Morris Moggridge announcer Roger priest. The series is presented through the instructional radio division of WBA at Purdue University West Lafayette Indiana. This is the national educational radio network.
Birth control today
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The New Morality
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Chicago: “Birth control today; 12; The New Morality,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 27, 2024,
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APA: Birth control today; 12; The New Morality. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from