The Taboo Breaker

By Anne SchaafLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

Marie-Paule Molitor-Peffer encouraged Luxembourgers to find their own "Loschtknäppchen" (button of pleasure) and to activate it. The feisty gynaecologist campaigned for sexual self-determination and revolutionised the way people talked about sexuality in the Grand Duchy in the 1980s.

The first article in this series took a look at the sexual history of Luxembourg and explained the different types of sources that can be examined when researchers go in search of the clitoris. Despite the variety of presented objects of investigation, neither they nor the readers have found anything yet, because the legendary organ has not yet appeared in the text. This is about to change in the following lines. This time, the focus is not on several sources, but on one very specific one. It leads us to the place of longing colloquially known as the 'clit'.

In order to make the research process understandable and tangible, it makes sense to start at the rear. In this case, "back" means with the material itself, the investigation of which can bring findings to light. The material to be explored is the programme Léift a Partnerschaft, which about 40 years ago soothed and calmed some minds in Luxembourg, while it heated up others. Sexual education on the radio was by no means everyone's cup of tea back then. The format was broadcast fortnightly on Sunday evenings from March 1979 on RTL Radio Lëtzebuerg and was always supervised by a member of the station's staff and two experts. In the first year and a half of its existence, the latter included, on the one hand, the gynaecologist and later president of Planning Familial (PF) Marie-Paule Molitor-Peffer. On the other hand, Nicolas Estgen, teacher, CSV politician and president of Action Planning Familial et Populaire (AFP), lingered behind the microphone. The headline topics were meant to indicate the direction of travel of the talks between the progressive PF and the arch-Catholic AFP. However, the two organisations took different turns in imparting knowledge, and more than once there were head-on collisions at discursive crossroads. More on this later.

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