Anne Frank: Sexuality Was a Theme in Her Diary

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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When did Anne Frank start to explore her sexuality? What did she say about her sexual attraction?

The theme of Anne Frank’s sexuality begins in early 1944 when she hit puberty and began noticing changes in her body. She expressed interest in both men and women, saying that female nudes made her excited but she desired to be in a relationship with a man.

Keep reading for more about Anne Frank’s sexuality.

Anne Frank on Sexuality

1944 marked a change for Anne. In the early months of the year, Anne began to notice changes in her body and emotions. She had her first period and began to take an interest in sex and love. She read books about puberty and talked about her desire to explore her body as well as others. In one example, she talked about an experience she had with another female student before going into hiding. The two kissed and Anne asked to touch her breasts. She expressed her desire to have an intimate connection again. 

As she continued to reflect on her sexuality, Anne Frank thought back to her first love: Peter Schiff (Peter S.). Peter S. was a bit older than Anne and spent time with her for a summer. However, after summer vacation, Peter S. stopped hanging around Anne and began to spend time with girls his own age.  This hurt Anne, and, though she thought she had gotten over him, she discovered that she still had intense feelings for him. She dreamed about him and wished that he were with her. 

As she got older, Anne thought about sex and the female body more frequently. She believed that sex shouldn’t be a taboo topic, and that waiting until marriage was a pointless practice. She had figured out the process of sex and menstruation before her parents had “the talk” with her. This annoyed her because she believed that parents should tell their children everything about sex to prevent them from hearing incorrect information from other people.

When Anne and Peter became closer, Anne and Peter started discussing taboo topics such as sex. Anne admitted that she and Margot hadn’t been told much about sex. Peter, on the other hand, knew quite a bit. He told Anne about contraceptives and the process of puberty for boys. Anne never thought that she could have these conversations with someone of the opposite sex.

Near the end of March, the adults started commenting on the relationship between Peter and Anne. The van Daans nicknamed Peter’s room “Anne’s second home” and made jokes about an Annex wedding. Edith and Otto worried about Anne going into Peter’s room alone. This concern led Edith to forbid Anne from going into his room to talk because she was afraid that they would act inappropriately.

Anne Frank: Sexuality Was a Theme in Her Diary

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Here's what you'll find in our full The Diary of a Young Girl summary:

  • What Nazi occupation looked like from the perspective of a young Jewish girl
  • How Anne Frank had some normal teenage experiences while in hiding
  • How the hidden residents coped with the stress

darya

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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