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Taken at its most basic level, the work of Sigmund Freud (1856–1939), the founder of psychoanalysis, argues for the necessity of sex education, but does not pursue this in anything other than the most general terms. Children are understood to be curious about sex, and mystification and obscurity in adult responses to demands for enlightenment are criticised. Education should begin early, and be set at the intellectual level of the individual child. It should also be initiated, and where possible carried out, by schools, and integrated into the study of discrete subjects. Freud, however, was cautious as to the efficacy of sex education. Both education and psychoanalysis were, after all, included in his list of ‘impossible’ professions.

Even when the practical application of psychoanalysis to sex ...

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