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MEDICAL LIBRARY EDITORIALS |

PREMARITAL LAWS

JAMA. 1964;187(12):948. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060250066018.
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ABSTRACT

Together with a sharp increase in teen-age marriages over the last decade, this nation has a shocking record of broken homes, divorce, and remarriage, a record that indicates a lack of preparation for marriage and parenthood. In particular, sociologists and psychiatrists point to sexual irresponsibility, ignorance, and maladjustment as the major factors underlying the instability and unhappiness of many young married couples today.

A widespread lack of sophistication in matters of sex brings many unhappy wives to their physicians with complaints of dyspareunia, frigidity, dysmenorrhea, infertility, and even, surprisingly, failure to consummate the marriage. In many cases bitterness and rejection of sex have become almost irreversible by this time.

Over 25 years ago the first legislation was enacted, requiring a premarital blood test for syphilis. The stated purpose of this and subsequent laws was to detect the disease, determine the source of infection, and prevent spread to the newborn. However,

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