English Life and Leisure: A Social Study

By B. Seebohm Rowntree; G. R. Lavers | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
SEXUAL PROMISCUITY

IN the whole field of human relationships there is probably no subject about which it is harder to get reliable information than about sexual promiscuity. And this is still true notwithstanding the fact that in recent decades many people have become more willing to discuss the matter, for there are very likely as many who exaggerate out of bravado as there are who conceal sexually promiscuous activities. The further difficulty arises that it is impossible authoritatively to compare the present with the past, for if reliable information about the present is sparse, that about the past is practically non-existent. It is commonplace nowadays to assume that sexual promiscuity is infinitely more widespread than formerly and this may very well be true, but it is not capable of proof and much of the apparent increase may be due to the greater frankness with which the subject is now approached.

In the case histories printed in Chapter I we have given a good deal of information about the sexual habits of individuals. In collecting the views about sex expressed in the 220 case histories printed, and in the 755 others which have not been printed but which have been taken into account in forming our views, and from which extracts printed in this chapter have been taken, special care was taken to test the truth of the statements made by the persons interviewed, for it was felt that they were more likely to be untruthful on the subject of sex than on any other. Any doubtful cases were rejected and we feel confident of the accuracy of our information as far as it goes.

In the matter of sexual promiscuity we have noticed considerable regional differences. In the first place, as might be expected, it is less prevalent in rural areas than in large towns,

-203-

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English Life and Leisure: A Social Study
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction xi
  • Chapter I 1
  • Chapter II- Commercialized Gambling 122
  • Chapter IV- Smoking 199
  • Chapter V- Sexual Promiscuity 203
  • Chapter VI- How Honest is Britain? 218
  • Chapter VII- The Cinema 228
  • Chapter VIII- The Stage 257
  • Chapter IX- Broadcasting 267
  • Chapter X- Dancing 279
  • Chapter XII- Adult Education 315
  • Chapter XIII- Religion 339
  • Chapter XIV- Leisure Time Activities in High Wycombe 375
  • Chapter XV- Leisure Time Pursuits in the Scandinavian Countries 415
  • Appendix I 465
  • Appendix II 469
  • Appendix III 472
  • Index 473
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