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Banned Book Review: Boys and Sex, Girls and Sex

January 27, 2006

58. Boys and Sex and 95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy

Reason:  content of “deviant sexual activity.”

Lots of people comment on the fact that “Girls and Sex” is considerably lower on the list than “Boys and Sex.”  But if you read the books, you can see where the more conservative element might find “Girls and Sex” a little less objectionable.  Pomeroy has some pretty old-fashioned ideas about females and their sex drives, as well as some pretty negative ideas about females in general.  The latest edition of these books is a version printed in 1991.  The books were originally published in the late 60’s, and it shows.

These books aren’t your usual sex education books.  They do make a brief mentions of the physical functions of the body during sex, but for the most part these books explore the psychology of sex.  Despite the author’s repeated assertions that he is neutral, he definitely has a bias.  What that bias is isn’t always clear.  He makes some interesting arguments about not suppressing sexuality, but also asserts that women want to be “courted.”  A fine thing to teach young boys, but definitely dated.  He also discusses sexual molestation, but implies that it only happens with strangers.  Something which is not supported by current studies.  Encouraging children to engage in “sex play” only with “people [they] know” of their own age ignores the fact that molestations are often committed by a friend or family member.  He also repeatedly calls homosexuality a “pattern of behavior” and implies that if guys don’t date at a young age, they’re more likely to become homosexual.
The language of the books is frequently convoluted.  In an effort to avoid appearing biased, Pomeroy throws several view points at the reader without giving a clear demarcation between each view-point to let the reader know that he is switching gears.  It’s hard to tell if he actually thinks that young girls are empty-headed creatures who aren’t as interested in sex as boys, or if this is just an alternate view-point he is describing.  Also, the descriptions are occasionally jarringly flowery.  It’s hard to take him seriously when he refers to the urethra as the “joining of two rivers.”  Supposedly recommended for 6th grade and up, but I wouldn’t recommend these books at all.  There are some good points to the books, but some serious flaws that need correcting.  However, since Pomeroy died in 2001, it’s doubtful that these books will see a fourth edition.

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