Early 20th Century
The use of ambiguous language, euphemisms and symbolism to describe sex and its related issues characterizes the public discourse on sex in the early twentieth century. Terms such as social hygiene, urban vice, and social purity were commonly used in these early texts. And the all-encompassing words health and fitness continue to be used today. Children’s books used farm animals and, of course, birds and bees to describe the biology of human reproduction and growing up.
The early twentieth century also saw pioneering academic works by scholars such as Sigmund Freud and British physician Havelock Ellis who examined sexuality and challenged the Victorian taboos on the topic.