Agnieszka Koscianska – Zobaczyc losia / To See a Moose. The History of Polish Sex Education from the First Lesson to the Internet

June 29, 2017

Crusev’s Agnieszka Koscianska has recently published Zobaczyc losia. Historia polskiej edukacji seksualnej od pierwszej lekcji do internetu  / To See a Moose. The History of Polish Sex Education from the First Lesson to the Internet. The book is published by Czarne, based in Wolowiec, Poland. The blurb of the book in English is below.

This history of struggles against ignorance and double standards starts towards the end of the 19th century, when men learned sex from prostitutes, and when the prevalence of shameful diseases was an open secret. Koscianska guides readers through developments in the field of sex education throughout the 20th century. How did it come to be, that at the beginning of this new age storks suddenly ceased to deliver babies and stories about the birds and the bees no longer satisfied curious girls and boys? What does intercourse have to do with spotting moose? How was sex described in a school textbook scrapped by the communists for fear of offending religious sentiment? Finally, could folk songs convey more information than progressive self-help books? Among Koscianska’s protagonists are women and men who had the courage to change how sex was written about. Yet readers will be urged to keep their critical hats on in assessing the contributions of the cult figures of Polish sexology. This work is the first to critically examine Polish sex education in the 20th century.

The book contains an extensive chapter on changing attitudes towards homosexuality and transsexuality in Polish sex education, sexual counselling and sexology in the 20th century, with a special focus on the 1970s. In this chapter, the author draws on various sources to reconstruct those changes: interviews with sexologists, sexual educators, and LGBTQ persons who remember the 1970s, as well as letters sent to sexologists, sex columns in the popular press, and sex education manuals. She argues that the long 1970s were a crucial decade that set the stage for the development of LGBTQ politics and self-organization in the late 1980s and in the 1990s. By reconstructing the dialogue between sexologists and their patients/readers on sexual orientation and gender identity, the book shows the processes that contributed to the formation of today’s debate over LGBTQ rights, politics and identity.

For further details, and to order the book in Polish, click here.