[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
October 27, 1969

The Physician as Sex Counselor

JAMA. 1969;210(4):717. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03160300057015

Who bears the responsibility for sex education of children and youth? To whom should the public turn for advice and counseling on problems of a sexual nature?

These questions have occasioned emotional public debate in recent months. Unfortunately, much of the debate has degenerated into name-calling and accusations with political overtones; it has resulted in a polarization of the public into "pro" and "con" sex-education groups. Yet, when these questions are stripped of their emotionalism and evaluated in the light of calm logic, certain noncontroversial facts emerge.

First, the primary responsibility for sex and family-life education belongs in the home. Few, if any, quarrel with this concept. It is only when one recognizes the inadequacies of parental teaching and searches for a supplementary educational medium that disagreements arise. This issue was faced squarely by the American Medical Association at its recent annual convention. There the Association went on record as