Sexuality, social work, history, prostitution, public health


Reflecting the social norms of the late 1800s and early 1900s, much of social work practice aimed to promote moral sexual behavior and penalize deviance. Even following the widespread adoption of psychoanalytic theory in the United States, social work persisted in having a poorly defined role with regard to issues of sexuality. In the 21st century, the profession continues to largely limit its involvement in matters of sexuality to those practice situations where deviance and public health concerns predominate. Limited topical exposure in peer-reviewed publications and the lack of broad-based human sexuality education for social workers perpetuate the invisibility of sexuality in the social work profession.

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