Towards a Quaker View of Sex

News of the World article 17 February 1963


This News of the World article, published on the morning before publication, announced Bidder & Barnes upcoming appearance on BBC programme, and sensationalizes the contents of the report.


clipping in Keith Wedmore Papers.


News of the World 17 February 1963

Shock Sex Report From Quakers

One of the frankest-ever public discussions on sex and morals will be put out by BBC television during family viewing time tonight.

It is based on a shock report by a group of Quakers who accept that the loss of virginity before marriage is no longer a stigma.

Two of the 11 authors of the report, which will shake many religious leaders, will appear in the religious programme "Meeting Point" at 6:15 p.m.

They are Dr. Anna Bidder, research worked in zoology at Cambridge University, and Mr. Kenneth Barnes, headmaster of a co-educational school at Wetherby, Yorks.


The programme will be live, and the two Quakers will be cross-examined by a consultant psychiatrist.

Said Mr. Barnes yesterday: "As far as I know the whole report will be discussed in the programme."

The report which was compiled by doctors, psychiatrists, and schoolmaster, is published this weekend.

One of the assumptions on which the group started their inquiries was that "the majority of young people of all classes, when they intend to marry, have sexual intercourse before they marry."


Here are some comments from the report:

On marriage: "Sexual difficulties are many, arising from lack of knowledge and immaturity.

"Sex, in addition to being a mystery, is also an appetite. People can talk quite freely about the foods they like and dislike. Similar frankness in the physical relationships could promote mutual understanding."

On sexual intercourse: For many a man the experience, once finished, is complete, and leaves him with a sense of release and freedom with which he can easily turn to other things.

"For a woman there is also release, but the experience remains with her and she does on dwelling on it."

On virginity: "Its loss is not the girl or her future husband as a stigma.

"Restraint is exercised as often from choice and principle as from fear. With modern contraceptives reducing the fear of pregnancy, man and maid are on equal terms."

On homosexuality: "An act which expresses true affection between two individuals, and gives pleasure to both does not seem to us to be sinful by reason alone that it is homosexual.

"But we have been depressed by the utter abandon of many homosexuals, especially those who live in homosexual circles."

The report does not condemn sexual relationships outside marriage but says it must be based on deep feelings between two people, each of whom cares what happens to the other.

It adds: "Those of low sexual drive are often pillars of respectability who find it easy to enjoin upon others the sexual abstinence which comes naturally to them."