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October 27, 1969

Leveling With Young People About Sex

Author Affiliations

From the Center for Studies of Child and Family Mental Health, National Institute of Mental Health, Chevy Chase, Md.

JAMA. 1969;210(4):711-712. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03160300051012

In the minds of most parents the family physician qualifies as one of the few available experts on sex. As Harold Lief, MD, has pointed out (Harper229:92 [Dec] 1964), this is one area where physicians are given too much credit. Most physicians are not adequately prepared to handle sex education with individuals or groups; but no one else is either, and the interested physician is in a good position to remedy the situation.

Why Don't Parents Do It?  It is a mistake to think that physicians, teachers, ministers, and others must handle sex education simply because too many parents have fallen down on the job. Even when parents do a good job, children will get information from other sources, and it is part of our responsibility to see that some of this is of good quality. If you ask parents who have done a good job, you will