debuts of the month
Search our site
The Heart of Mars by Paul Magrs Read the opening extract of the brand new Paul Magrs book before its publication on 15/03/2018

Dirty Words The Rhetoric of Public Sex Education, 1870-1924 by Robin E. Jensen

Dirty Words The Rhetoric of Public Sex Education, 1870-1924


Dirty Words The Rhetoric of Public Sex Education, 1870-1924 by Robin E. Jensen

Dirty Words: The Rhetoric of Public Sex Education, 1870-1924, details the approaches and outcomes of sex-education initiatives in the Progressive Era. In analyzing the rhetorical strategies of sex education advocates, Robin E. Jensen engages with rich sources such as lectures, books, movies, and posters that were often shaped by female health advocates and instructors. She offers a revised narrative that demonstrates how women were both leaders and innovators in early U.S. sex-education movements, striving to provide education to underserved populations of women, minorities, and the working class. Investigating the communicative and rhetorical practices surrounding the emergence of public sex education in the United States, Jensen shows how women in particular struggled for a platform to create and circulate arguments concerning this controversial issue. The book also provides insight into overlooked discourses about public sex education by analyzing a previously understudied campaign targeted at African American men in the 1920s, offering theoretical categorizations of discursive strategies that citizens have used to discuss sex education over time, and laying out implications for health communicators and sexual educators in the present day.


Illuminating a rich collection of primary texts, Jensen demonstrates that despite exclusion from existing historical accounts, women played a significant role in the advocacy of sex education. This important Progressive Era history details the deliberative context in which debates about sex education occurred and analyzes strategies employed by often-overlooked female advocates. --Susan Zaeske, author of Signatures of Citizenship: Petitioning, Antislavery, and Women's Political Identity Approaching the early struggles over sex education in the public schools from the fresh angle of rhetorical analysis, Jensen provides a useful guide to contemporary debates on this important issue. This book is of special interest to students and scholars of history, education, women's studies, communications, and rhetoric. --Jeffrey P. Moran, author of Teaching Sex: The Shaping of Adolescence in the Twentieth Century

About the Author

Robin E. Jensen is an assistant professor of communication at Purdue University.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

3rd December 2010


Robin E. Jensen

More books by Robin E. Jensen
Author 'Like for Like'


University of Illinois Press


232 pages


Teaching of a specific subject
Personal & social issues: sex education & the facts of life (Children's / Teenage)
Educational: Personal, social & health education (PSHE)
History: specific events & topics



I love the newsletter with reviews of all the new books coming out. Can't wait to open it when it arrives in my inbox.

Rachel Aygin

I love Lovereading because of its ability to connect people that love books & unite them in a friendly, stimulating & interesting community.

Megan Olwen William

It has enriched my leisure time by introducing me to a world of books which I would not have previously considered.

Val Rowe

Because of Lovereading I have broadened my reading horizons with some really great books that I probably would never have chosen myself.

Susan Walsh

Lovereading is pitched at just the right level for all the various types of people who enjoy reading in its many forms.

Pam Woodburn

It's a lively, independent website with reviews, recommendations and more - with a huge range of books available to buy in all formats.

Alison Layland

I love Lovereading because I get to read great books and then get to tell everybody how good they are.

Sally Doel

It's the first site that I visit when deciding on the next set of books to buy. A particular treat is being able to download an extract.

Tessa Olson