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Feb. 23, 2012 Volume 33, No. 21

MU professor emeritus publishes book on sex


AT HOME In his book, Anderson writes of his experiences teaching about sexuality at Mizzou and the changes in America regarding sex since the 1960s.


The book traces changing attitudes toward sexual relations over the decades

Wayne Anderson was born at the beginning of the Great Depression.

It was a time in America when few women worked outside the home; pregnant teachers were not allowed in the classroom; offering birth control information was illegal; condoms had to be labeled “for prevention of disease only”; homosexuals were considered criminals, mentally ill or both; adultery was the only ground for divorce in most states; and sex education was virtually nonexistent.

Major changes did not take place until the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

Anderson, professor emeritus of psychology, writes about these changes and his 42 years of research and experiences teaching human sexuality at Mizzou in his latest book, The Changing Face of Sex, available at most book stores.

Anderson taught full time at Mizzou from 1963 until he retired in 1995. Since then, he’s taught part time in the Honors College.

The book took about a month to put together. But in another way, Anderson said, he had been working on it for half of a century.

Some of the book material came from articles Anderson published in journals, interviews and discussions with Mizzou students since 1969.

He particularly mined discussions from an undergraduate class he teaches called Understanding Human Sexuality. In the course, he asked students to turn in weekly written reports about their observations of sex in their environment. Their reflections are based on various sources such as movies, television, books, friends, fellow students and their own experiences.

“What we found is that there has been a tremendous change since 1968 in the sexual behavior of people and in the attitudes toward sexual behavior,” Anderson said.

“Several chapters in this book are based on the reports I have received from students over the years about their observations,” he said, “as well as a chapter on their fantasies.”

Anderson also steps back in time, tracing behaviors and attitudes in the sexually conservative decades before the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Other topics covered include the need for sex education, the evolution of sexually transmitted diseases, behavioral differences between men and women, the brain chemistry of love, marriage and divorce, dual-career couples, monogamy, pregnancy, homosexuality and rape.

Dean Andersen, an MU health educator, said the dialogue Anderson creates in the book helps dispel myths and stereotypes, and helps individuals express their sexuality in healthy ways.

“His book provides the reader with an interesting and insightful frontline glimpse into the amazing changes in social attitudes toward sex, sexuality and sex-roles that have occurred in the past century,” Andersen said.

Anderson keeps busy in retirement

Since retiring in 1995 from MU, Wayne Anderson has been busy writing columns, articles and books.

He writes a travel column for the Columbia Daily Tribune. A collection of his articles was published in the book Offbeat Travel. He also has written articles on his work training therapists, teachers and nurses in war-torn countries to deal with traumatized children.

Anderson has dabbled in novels as well. In 2010 he published Christina’s Saga: From Norway to Dakota Territory, which is loosely based on his grandmother who emigrated from Europe to the United States.

Anderson’s current project is a science fiction novel. “I’m keeping quite busy for an old man,” he said.