2007 issue 4


Volume 16, issue 4

Review article

Conceptions of sexual education in the years 1904-1914 as presented in the Warsaw Society of Hygiene press publications

Bartosz Nowożycki1
1. Archiwum Akt Nowych w Warszawie
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2007; 16 (4): 345-350
Keywords: hygiene, mental health, sexual education, children, youth, Warsaw Society of Hygiene


Objectives. The modern hygiene movement started in Poland in the early 20th century. The process was associated with the establishment of the Warsaw Society of Hygiene. In the press publications by the Society the problems of hygiene were discussed in the context of a wideranging social program, strongly influenced by the ideas of eugenics. The dramatic state of hygiene in the country and Polish hygienists' striving for good physical and mental health of the citizens demanded that a program of sexual education should be developed. The conceptualization of the sexual education program is outlined in this paper.

Review. The analysis of views on sexual education shared by the Warsaw Society ofHygiene was based on four articles by Drs Konstanty Stróżewski, Zygmunt Srebrny, Leon Wernic and Mieczysław Michałowicz, published in the journal "Zdrowie". The articles can be regarded as presenting the ideological program of Warsaw hygienists. Sexual education of youth was expected to be a rational process controlled by parents and teachers. Adolescents should be provided with information concerning the hygiene of sex life and prepared to parenthood. The process of sexual education was divided into age-adjusted stages. This model of education was characterized by openness to the needs and problems of the youth.

Conclusions. The conceptions of sexual education proposed by Warsaw hygienists in the early 20th century were implemented in the education process in the years 1918-1939, in the independent Poland. They were reflected in the applied methods and in the care taken of adolescents' psychophysical development.

Address for correspondence:
Mgr Bartosz Nowożycki
Oddział V Archiwum Akt Nowych
ul. Hankiewicza 1, 02-103 Warszawa
tel. (22) 8229053
e-mail: nowozycki@aan.gov.pl