Towards a Quaker View of Sex

Daily Mail, 18 Feb 1963


The Daily Mail published this account of Bidder and Barnes on the Meeting Point programme.


clipping in Personal Papers of Anna Bidder, Lucy Cavendish College Archive


Daily Mail February 18, 1963

Quaker's views on love and marriage

by Daily Mail Reporter

Two Quakers who helped to prepare the most outspoken Church report on sex ever published said on TV last night that the fact that a husband or wife had a love affair should not mean the end of their marriage.
The triangle situation would end with the "enrichment" of the marriage, said one--Dr. Anna Bidder, a spinster, who teaches zoology at Cambridge University.

The two Quakers--the other was Mr. Kenneth Barnes, head of Wennington co-education school at Wetherby, Yorkshire--were appearing in the B.B.C. religious series, Meeting Point.

They were questioned by Mr. Paul Ferris about a report called Towards a Quaker View of Sex--published today--drawn up by an investigation team of 11 Quakers.

The report says there has been a great increased in sexual relations among adolescents, and that relations before marriage have become common even among people with high standards of conduct.

It urges a completely new Christian approach to the problem--and says the investigation team rejected "almost completely" the traditional Church approach, with its supposition that it knows precisely what is right and what is wrong.

Mr. Ferris said of the report: "It is very controversial, very outspoken and no doubt it will shock some people."


He questioned them about their attitude to an "affair" during marriage.

Dr. Bidder said: "People tend to think it is the end. We say that if people approach the situation in sincerity and confidence and determination the marriage can be strengthened and enriched--and the third party can be enriched by having come through a difficult situation."
She emphasised: "Whatever happens, we are 100 p.c. concerned with the sanctity and wonder of marriage."

Mr. Ferris asked: How far should young people go before marriage? Should they sleep together?

Dr. Bidder said she did not think the question should be put that way. "I should want them to think in terms of neighbourliness not only to the person concerned, but to the other people round them."