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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Louise Riggsbee Jones, October 13, 1976. Interview H-0085-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Sex as a taboo subject outside of marriage

Jones explains how people her age knew very little about sex before marriage. Earlier in the interview, she had talked about how people were unaware of birth control and here she notes that sex, in general, was essentially a taboo subject. Her comments reveal the ways in which people addressed issues of sex, sexuality, and reproduction during the early twentieth century in a small southern community.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Louise Riggsbee Jones, October 13, 1976. Interview H-0085-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

MARY FREDERICKSON:
I don't mean to dwell on sex and marriage [laughter] too much, but I was wondering if it was accepted or if it was real unusual or if it ever happened that women would have children before they married.
LOUISE JONES:
I guess they did, but I don't remember much about it. But I'll tell you, we didn't know sex. They didn't teach it to us like they do now. And it was more of a sacred thing with us when we were growing up, and something that we shouldn't talk out. Now young people don't think too much about talking sex to one another; you know how they are now. And I sometimes think that they know just a little bit too much, that they don't have the respect for it that they ought to, like we always did.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
So when you were growing up, you were sort of taught, or not even taught, that sex was something that was a part of marriage.
LOUISE JONES:
Yes. Not too young. Just as I got a little older, I would learn such as that.