First Advisor

David Ritchie

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Communication Studies and University Honors




Sex instruction -- Political aspects -- United States, Sexual abstinence -- Study and teaching, Metaphor, Rhetoric




This paper analyzes four key political texts regarding access to comprehensive and abstinence-only sex education in the United States, beginning in 1919 and culminating in 2016. The aim being to draw attention to the relationship between political rhetoric on sex education and the metaphorical language that is utilized to discuss the matter. Presented here is the argument that discourse on sex education revolves around journey metaphors and most often reflect the underlying conceptual metaphors that LIFE IS A JOURNEY and/or POLITICS IS A JOURNEY. This framing of the debate began in 1919 when a pamphlet distributed by the United States' government referred to moral-based sex education as placing children on the right path and has endured through 2016. Now politicians from both parties highlight the importance of leadership and direction when it comes to finishing their journey in search of the form of sex education that's preferred.


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