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A 1957 sex education film

The fifties – horrible, square, stupid, and discriminatory, right?

That’s what I thought. I thought it was the dark ages until the groovy sixties came along and woke everything up. And then the people who had fun in the sixties straightened up, put away the drugs, got nice jobs and bought nice houses in the best neighbourhoods. And now they still have the best jobs and best houses and we’re left with the dregs. So that’s the fifties and the sixties coloured with my own biases. But essentially, in all seriousness, we’ve always thought the fifties were… well, a long time ago.

Then I found this video. It’s so old it’s in the public domain. It’s a sex education video called As Boys Grow. A coach is getting his team of boys ready for a track meet, and they start to ask him all sorts of questions about their growing bodies.

There are few judgements or religious interjections, just education. It doesn’t try to be cool, and despite the film’s time, it goes into erections, wet dreams, ejaculations, intercourse, periods – all under the guise of a helpful track coach taking responsibility for his athletes’ sex-ed.

The cynic in me keeps expecting the coach to saw, “Hi, I’m Troy McLure, and you’ve seen me in…” Another part of me is amazed to see a time when irony didn’t exist and there didn’t have to be subtle in-jokes about everything. This film, as ancient as it is, just teaches you the facts. And the coach uses diagrams! I would happily let my kids see this film.