Lecture to Explore Britain's Changing Attitude to Sexuality

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One of the country’s leading cultural historians, the University of Worcester’s Professor Maggie Andrews, will give a special one-off lecture exploring Britain’s changing attitudes to sexual health next week.

The Professor of Cultural History will deliver the lecture, entitled ‘From Prostitution to the Pill: 100 Years of Sexual Health and Attitudes’ next Wednesday, June 18 at 7pm in the Jenny Lind Chapel at the University’s City Campus.

The lecture will cover the period from the mid-nineteenth century, when the legal age of consent for girls in this country was just twelve, through to the sexual liberation of the 1960s.

Professor Andrews will also speak about infamous topics such as the Contagious Diseases Act, introduced in the 1860s to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases when prostitution was considered a severe threat to the health of the armed forces.

She explains: “When this law was in operation, girls thought to be prostitutes could be forcibly inspected and, if found to be infected, incarcerated in hospitals until cured.

“A big factor in the shaping of attitudes to sexual health was concern for the protection of the health of the armed forces. The responsibility for the spreading of sexual disease was placed on women; from prostitutes to girls with ‘khaki fever’ in World War One. Indeed, a women’s police force was introduced to try to control such women.”

Professor Andrews will then address the more liberal attitudes to sexuality which formed throughout the latter part of the twentieth century, with medical advances, such as the pill, and women’s greater economic independence among the factors to challenge more traditional views.

She adds: “Attitudes to sexuality and sexual health are an important part of our culture and shape many people’s everyday lives. It is an area in which, from the 1860s to the 1960s, we can identity both significant changes and also startling continuities.

The lecture is open to all, with admission costing £5 for adults and £2 for concessions and students. To pre-book, call The Infirmary on 01905 542540 or 542373.