Once upon a time, sex education was a simple biology lesson. Students learned the facts of life, and, with those facts, that sex is part of something bigger, called marriage. Teachers explained that this was the moral and healthy way to live.
In those days, people understood that men and women are different, and that their union is unique, unlike any other relationship. It went without saying that boys grew up to become men, and girls, women.
There were only two sexually transmitted diseases, and having one was a serious matter. Certain behaviors were not normal; individuals who practiced them needed help, and a child’s innocence was precious.
Things have changed.
Now we have comprehensive sexuality education. It includes discussion of identity, gender, reproductive rights, and discrimination. Children learn that they’re sexual from birth, and that the proper time for sexual activity is when they feel ready. They’re taught that they have rights to pleasure, birth control, and abortion.
The terms husband and wife aren’t used, the union of man and woman is one of several options, and morality? Well, that’s judging, and judging is not allowed.
You won’t find much biology in sexuality education, but there’s voluminous information on the varieties of sexual expression, the pros and cons of different contraceptives and abortions, and the harms of gender stereotypes.
Gender itself is a complicated matter. A boy might turn into a man, a woman, or something else. A girl might feel she was born in the wrong body, and want her breasts removed. This is all normal, children learn.
There are over two dozen sexually transmitted diseases, and infection with one of these “lovebugs” is considered by some to be a part of growing up. A doctor declares on YouTube, “Expect to have HPV once you become sexually intimate. All of us get it.”
And childhood innocence? Forget it! Material created for children makes most adults uncomfortable. On websites recommended to students, nothing is taboo—sadomasochism, polyamory, and what were once called “deviant” behaviors . . . they’re all good. When I first discovered this, I was astonished. What do these bizarre behaviors have to do with health, I wondered? How can responsible adults allow this? How can they fund this?
As a physician and a parent, it really bothered me. I wanted to understand: where did this come from? How did we reach this madness?
So I looked at the history of sexual education, and I wrote a book called You’re Teaching My Child WHAT? This is what I discovered.
Modern sex ed began in the sixties. It was based on Alfred Kinsey’s model of human sexuality. Thanks to the brilliant and courageous work of Dr. Judith Reisman, we now know that Kinsey was both a fraud and a deeply disturbed individual.
For Kinsey, it was anything goes when it came to sexuality, and I mean anything. He believed, for example, that pedophiles were misunderstood, and their punishments unjust. “Sexuality is not an appetite to be curbed,” Kinsey insisted. He taught that, and he lived it.
His official biography documents the beliefs on which he based his work, and his personal life: the “human animal” is pansexual. Traditional morality is destructive. Sexuality is not an appetite to be curbed.
When I say that Kinsey was a deeply disturbed individual, it fails to capture the level of his psychopathology. I’ve been a psychiatrist for thirty years, and trust me, I’ve met some very strange people. I am not easily shocked.
But when I began to read Kinsey’s official biography…what can I tell you? He was—please excuse the technical jargon—a real mental case.
Kinsey was afflicted at his core. He was a depraved human being, and his emotional illness expressed itself through his sexuality. He was consumed by a grotesque, debilitating obsession with a wide range of abnormal behaviors—I’ll spare you the details, but I doubt very much that in all the 62 years of Kinsey’s miserable life he knew even one day of what we would consider healthy sexuality.
Alfred Kinsey had a dream. He would prove to the world—and himself—that his lifestyle was normal. Average. Typical.
It was society that was at fault, with its religions, moral codes, and restrictions. Society made people feel guilty for following their natural urges, and that was unhealthy. Kinsey’s dream was to free people from those destructive institutions—to free the “human animal.” He did thousands of interviews, crunched the numbers, and concluded that most people practiced forbidden sexual behaviors. The average mom and dad were living a double life, just like he was.
His conclusions were widely questioned by leading scientists, but the criticism didn’t seem to matter. The popular press accepted Kinsey’s reports, and his books were best-sellers. A revolution was spawned and western culture transformed.
But his research was fundamentally flawed. His samples were too small and the demography was badly skewed. He excluded some populations and focused on others—most notably, imprisoned felons. His subjects were preselected, since he relied on volunteers for his data.
The whole nefarious scheme has been exposed in a number of books and videos by Dr. Reisman. I urge you to check out her work at drjudithreisman.org for yourself, if you’ve got a strong stomach.
Kinsey died in 1956. This was a time in America when, thanks to antibiotics, venereal diseases were being obliterated. With one shot, syphilis and gonorrhea were cured. It was believed that this was the end of STDs, the end of all infections. The 1960 winner of the Nobel Prize in medicine said “we are seeing the virtual elimination of infectious diseases.” Can you imagine?
Also in 1960, birth control pills became widely available. With STDs easily cured, and pregnancy preventable, the only obstacle to Kinsey’s anything-goes model of sexuality was Judeo-Christian morality.
It was in this context that in 1964 Dr. Mary Calderone founded the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). This is the group behind the sexuality education guidelines published by UNESCO, aggressively promoted to nations all over the world. Calderone created SIECUS with seed money provided by Hugh Hefner.
Like Kinsey, she was on a crusade to change society. Sex education has too much negativity, she insisted, too much focus on unwanted pregnancy and diseases. The real problem, she insisted, following Kinsey, was that society is puritanical and repressed.
There were too many nos in sex ed. The approach of SIECUS, Calderone promised, would be based on yesses. Proper sex ed would teach children that from the day they’re born they are sexual beings, and that the expression of their sexuality is positive, natural, and healthy.
She told parents, “Children are sexual and think sexual thoughts and do sexual things . . . parents must accept and honor their child’s erotic potential.” She also told them, “Professionals who study children have recently affirmed the strong sexuality of the newborn.”
What did it mean, exactly, to be open and positive, and to replace the nos of sex education with yesses? What did it mean to “break from traditional views”?
It meant more than premarital and extramarital sex. Much more. Modern sex ed was about breaking boundaries. There were officials within SIECUS who were so radical that they argued publicly for relaxing the taboos against adult/child sexuality, even incest. Wardell Pomeroy, for example, a disciple of Kinsey’s who served as president of SIECUS, argued, “It is time to admit that incest need not be a perversion or a symptom of mental illness.”
TIME magazine described Pomeroy as part of the “pro-incest lobby.” He wrote a book, Boys & Sex, for grades six and up. There he argued that “our sexual behavior…is like that of other animals….There is essentially nothing that humans do sexually that is abnormal.” Calderone provided a blurb for the book jacket: “As I read your manuscript, I kept saying to myself, ‘At last it is being said…’”
Another figure to know is Dr. John Money. In 1955, he introduced the radical concept that maleness and femaleness are feelings, separate from anatomy and chromosomes. He was convinced we are born without gender, then conditioned by society to identify either as male or female.
Money was a prominent psychologist; he’s well respected to this day. He described pedophilia as “a love affair between an age-discrepant couple.” Money was also part of the incest lobby: “For a child to have a sexual experience with a relative,” he wrote, “was not necessarily a problem.” Like Kinsey, Money had deep emotional wounds. His identity as a man was troubled, and he molested young boys.
What’s so astonishing is that these men, these very disturbed men, using fraudulent data and theories that have been discredited, succeeded in transforming much of society. Today’s sexuality education is based on their teachings.
Once I understood who the founders were—Kinsey, Calderone, Pomeroy, Money, and others—I understood how we got to today’s “comprehensive sexuality education.” I knew how we had reached today’s madness.
It came from disturbed individuals with dangerous ideas—radical activists who wanted to create a society that would not only accept their pathology, but celebrate it!
These men were pedophiles. It was in their interest to see children as miniature adults who enjoyed sexual contact, and had the right to consent to it, without other adults, or the law, interfering.
Why would they value childhood innocence? They didn’t believe that children were innocent to begin with. They also thought that restricting sex to husband and wife was unnatural and destructive. They weren’t fighting disease, they were fighting ancient taboos; they were fighting biblical morality.
The bottom line: sex ed began as a social movement, and it remains a social movement. Its goal is for students to be open to just about any form of sexual expression. Sex ed is not about preventing disease, it’s about sexual freedom, or better—sexual license. It’s about changing society, one child at a time.
You don’t have to be a physician to understand the dangers of this ideology. All you need is common sense. While the founders of sex education are long gone, their vision is alive and well. The obligation to fight it rests on the shoulders of every responsible adult.
Miriam Grossman, MD is a medical doctor with training in pediatrics and child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry. She is the author of Unprotected and You’re Teaching My Child WHAT? This essay is adapted from a talk given at the World Congress of Families in Sydney, Australia in May 2013.