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The Needs Of Adolescents

( Originally Published 1923 )

The Needs of Adolescents.—The failure to attain satisfactory use and control of sex on the part of adults is paralleled and, in part, caused by the difficulties and unsolved problems of adolescence and youth. Much of the delinquency with which courts and police have to deal results from. untrained and unguided impulses connected with sex, even in cases that have no apparent relation to sex matters. The large amount and steady increase of illegitimacy and widespread promiscuity in sexual relations, quite apart from prostitution, indicates that young people have not acquired the knowledge, ideals, and skill necessary for managing their affairs to the best advantage. The morbid curiosity as well as the worries and fears concerning sex, prevalent among young people and often standing in the way of marriage, and the large amount of serious sex repression and of perversion, point equally to the shortcomings in our training of youth.

The conditions we find among adults and among youth challenge us to ask: 1. whether those who understand should continue to ignore or treat with a combination of levity and evasion the whole problem of sex; and 2. whether the necessary education and training should not begin much earlier in life than the period at which the individual becomes conscious of sex impulses and sex problems.

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