Youth and Sex

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Youth and Sex


A letter to the editors in reply to a letter to the editors sent in by T. Christmas Humphreys. In the original letter Humphreys complains the T.S. does not teach youth about controlling their sexuality. Wilkinson defends the T.S. saying they should not be blamed. "It seems unreasonable to hastily blame the Theosophical Society for having no ready-made, cut-and-dry solution to a problem which appears to have temporarily baffled even high initiates like S. Paul." He also notes that replies for youth to get married are inadequate as marriage is costly and has many other obligations. He finally talks about appropriate sexual reforms necessary in European society.


Wilkinson, H.L.S.


The Theosophist, Vol. XLIV (44), No. 9, June 1923, pg 349-350


The Theosophical Society (Adyar)




Public Domain


PDF of scanned page.




Periodical Correspondence

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IN th.e absence of any reply to Mr. Humph!eys from one. better
qualified than myself, you may perhaps publish the concluswns of
one who has felt the Sex problem deeply, suffered by it, and been
baffled, after returning again and again to consider it, throughout a
It seems unreasonable to hastily blame the Theosophical Society
for having no ready-made, cut-and-dry solution to a problem which
appears to have temporarily baffled even high initiates like S. Paul.
Life is a perpetual crucifixion : and the higher our ideal of living,
and the more strenuously we pursue it, the greater becomes the
crucifixion, the martyrdom. The greatest Teachers of Gods and men
have shown us no way of evading this martyrdom. We have to go
through it, and largely without any aid but what we ourselves can
invoke by prayer and faith, though in the heat of the conflict these
weapons often appear unavailing.
So much may be granted. And yet one must admit that at the
present time the conflict waxes just a little too strenuous, the odds
being such as to barely provide a "sporting" chance for an increasing
number of young people of both sexes, especially in Great Britain.
This state of things calls for immediate remedy, for otherwise the
Powers of Evil will gain the victory, and we, as a nation, will
go under.
When ' crucifixion ' takes such a form that thousands of naturally
healthy young men have their lives poisoned and cut short by disease
or insanity, while millions of others of both sexes find their nature's
growth suppressed and stunted, instead of being fruitful and blessing
the world and themselves-it is evidently time to put our heads
together, and see whether we cannot make a better and healthier
world than the one we are condemned to live in. It cannot be a good
thing that the sexual urge, which is intended to teach human beings
to love, should be thwarted in such a way as to embitter a whole life
and become a hindrance and a curse. Crucifixion notwithstanding,
God never intended average human beings to turn themselves into
auto-da-fes for the benefit of certain social customs for which
divine authority is cited on very questionable grounds. What
He does intend is for us all to be happy, and find happiness in
doing His work, not only in the divine worlds, but here below. Our
task is to find out these ways of happiness.
I have been told by religious teachers, both English and Hindu,
that marriage is the remedy for the sexual troubles of the young.
"Why does he not get married?" is the question often asked regarding
a young man. Why? indeed ! The question, to anyone who knows the
real state of affairs in English society, is needless. Marriage, instead
of being cheap and easy of attainment for all, if not, as it should be,
compulsory for all who are fitted, has become hedged about with so
many obstacles, that it can generally only be achieved by a fortunate
' See Editors Note on p. 351.
fluke, or by wealthy people, or those to whom a competence com
only when youth is past. There are thousands of girls in Engla;d
who want to get married, and thousands of young men who would
gladly marry them, but there is no machinery for bringing the parties
together. A dreadful and horrible suspicion prevents people from
mixi~g, and .keeps .them ~hut ~p in their houses _fro~ year's end to
years end, hke ammals m theu cages ! People hve s1de by side for
a score of years without ever entering each other's doors, and the
terrifying legend " Beware of the Dog" confronts the stranger who
opens the gates ! This terrible seclusion and suspicion narrows the
matrimonial field very considerably, in fact it is a commonplace that
girls in England cannot get married. They have to get out of prison
and go abroad-to India preferably, or to any place where they can
meet and get to know their fellow creatures !
The rise in the "standard of living" is another obstacle. The
simple life has become unfashionable. We want more than our
parents did, and our children want more than we. Selfishness reigns
supreme, and self-denial is never thought of. Not only does this prevent
marriages, but it causes such marriages as are made to end disastrously,
and serve as standing warnings to other prospective
Benedicks! Until these evils are remedied, there can be no b eginnin~
the discussion of the sex problem. We want
(1) Prostitution to be made a criminal offence ;
(2) Reform of the marriage laws;
(3) A tax on bachelors ;
( 4) State aid, where necessary, for families among the poor;
(5) Breaking down of class exclusiveness and suspicion ;
(6) Greater opportunities for young people of both sexes to
meet and form friendships, which can be best brought about by
(7) Co-education.
It is the duty of the churches to bestir themselves and press for
these reforms, and give Society help and a lead in its difficulties.
And if their elders remain inert and obstructive, the youn~ people
might do worse than take the matter in hand themselves. If every
town and village in England had a sort of mixed club where educated
youths and maidens could associate and meet together on co-operative
principles, for innocent amusement, dancing, concerts, and so on,
meddlesome and boring chaperons (if any still survive!) being rigidly
excluded or kept in their proper places, a beginning of a new order of
things might be made. Already there are signs of this new kind of
freedom in England, and, notwithstanding old people and their headshakings,
it is not at all a bad thing!
India, probably, has her own sex problems, which would be stated
somewhat differently from the above. India has no celibates or
spinsters and has not yet begun to talk about eugenics ! Whatever
troubles it may have, it appears to me to be happier than most western
countries. It would be interesting to have an Indian view of the sex
problem, if they have one.

Original Format

Letter to the Editor in print journal.


H. L. S. Wilkinson - Youth and Sex.pdf


Wilkinson, H.L.S., “Youth and Sex,” John L. Crow's Akashic Archive, accessed September 18, 2019,


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