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“sexual health” Tag

RIP Claire Rayner

Woman's Own / 16th August 1968

No doubt UK readers will have heard about the recent death of sexual health education pioneer and legendary agony aunt, Claire Rayner. Until I read the Guardian obituary about Claire, I hadn’t realised that she’d written health advice columns for Women’s Own between 1966 and 1975 under the pseudonym ‘Ruth Martin’. Naturally, I turned to my collection, although it must be said that as far as this site’s concerned, Claire was a victim of her own high quality, as there’s not many jokes you can make about her good advice! I thought this column was a good example of contemporary attitudes, however, so sit back, relax and wonder at the social climate which persuaded women that being ‘modest’ was preferable to easing their suffering, or that painful prolapses were just part of ‘being a woman’. Rest in peace, Claire: Britain will miss you.

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Unclean! Unclean!

Woman's Realm / 6th October 1967

There’s nothing wrong with the main article here, but a couple of the questions here throw up some real facepalm moments. Firstly, there’s the woman who not only thinks cancer is an infectious disease, but also hasn’t bothered to ask her OWN MOTHER what’s wrong with her, and then there’s the poor girl who’s convinced that she’s miraculously got VD without any sexual contact.

Yes, this is now over 40 years old, but that first woman was from my mother’s generation, which I think shows how much progress we’ve made as a society where the Big C is concerned. As for the confused girl: well, I’m not so sure. There’s enough people out there who’d rather keep teenagers in that state of ignorance, sadly, and then blame them when they don’t cope with the complex and sometimes dangerous world of adult sexuality.

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