Sex Education in Schools—Harmful or Beneficial?

Many people believe sex education provides the only logical means of addressing the myriad issues surrounding sexuality in our culture. While the biological facts of reproduction can be taught in short order, “comprehensive” sex education includes issues such as the psychology of relationships and the sociology of the family. Advocates say it seeks not simply to reduce health risks to teenagers but also to offer a holistic and integrated understanding of human relationships and reproduction.

Others, including the Church, affirm that parents are responsible for forming their children’s viewpoint and conscience on questions relating to human sexuality. Many in this camp harbor suspicions that there are agendas at work to undermine the traditional Judeo-Christian view of marriage and family, and even to subvert or redefine the sexes-what it means to be a man or a woman.

Sex Education Framework

The London-based Sex Education Forum (SEF), an independent umbrella body comprising over 40 national organizations involved in sex education-including the Association for Health Care Coordinators, the League of Jewish Women, the Church of England Board of Education, and the United Methodist Church-holds that this type of education should be an integral part of the lifelong learning process for all individuals beginning in early childhood. SEF encourages personal and social development fostering self-esteem, self awareness, a sense of moral responsibility, and the confidence and ability to resist abuse and unwanted sexual experiences.

SEF operates on the premise that parents lack sufficient skill and knowledge and therefore look to schools to support the sex education of their children. Its studies describe young people’s views of education as being “too little, too late and too biological,” and as avoiding the broader issues of relationships, sexuality, contraception, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and abortion.

An Educational Fad

Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, vice president of the New York City-based Institute for American Values, believes comprehensive sex education is an educational fad that fails to address the grim reality of what she calls the “new sexual revolution” among the young.

“There is little evidence that it works,” Whitehead contends. “It’s defended by its originators as ‘getting real’ about teenage sex, but it has failed to prevent teenage pregnancy and stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.” Actually, in the 30-plus years in which sex ed has been taught in American schools, adolescent pregnancy, teenage abortion and STDs have all dramatically increased.

So why do sex ed programs appear to be having the exact opposite effect of their clearly stated purposes? Why are sex ed supporters continuing to relentlessly drive their cause, when one would expect them to be retreating in embarrassed silence?

The Origins of Sex Ed

“When it comes to leading children astray, sex education has to be Satan’s all-time masterpiece,” says Fr. Richard Welsh, former president of Human Life International (HLI), a pro-life organization based in Front Royal, Virginia. “You have only to look at the epidemics of fornication, abortion, divorce, pornography, sex addiction and AIDS to see how right Christ’s Church is when She teaches that sex education is the responsibility of parents. Period.”

As a means of enlightening people as to sex education’s hidden agenda, Fr. Welsh exposes its originators: Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, and Prof. Alfred Kinsey, who gave the movement its alleged scientific basis.

Mrs. Sanger, who died in 1966, was a wealthy American feminist who advocated eugenics-the totalitarian notion that humanity can be “improved” by keeping supposedly “inferior” people from having children-as a means of curbing population growth and facilitating human progress.

The goals of both Mrs. Sanger and the organization she founded have always remained the same: eliminate poverty by eliminating poor people (the masthead of her Birth Control Review of Dec. 1921 reads: ‘Birth Control: To Create A Race of Thoroughbreds’). Planned Parenthood’s methods are abortion, contraception, sterilization and sex education.

If Margaret Sanger is acknowledged to be the mother of the sex ed movement, then its father is Prof. Alfred Kinsey. Kinsey, who died in 1956, had perhaps an even greater influence than Sanger in that countless academics, journalists and lawmakers unquestioningly accepted the results of his watershed 1948 and 1953 “surveys” of sexual practices in the USA.

“Kinsey had no real qualifications,” Fr. Welsh points out. “His studies were simply the most colossal scientific fraud of our time. He was not a physician, psychologist or sociologist. In fact, he was a zoologist who specialized in the study of gall wasps.”

Nor was Kinsey impartial. As Dr. Judith Reisman documents in her book Kinsey: Crimes and Consequences (The Institute for Media Education, 1998), Kinsey twisted his data to produce the results he wanted by stacking his survey cross-sections with homosexuals, convicted sex criminals and pedophiles. Reisman alleges that Kinsey himself was a sexual deviant who collected pornography and made dirty movies in his attic. She further alleges that Kinsey had a hidden agenda to overthrow Judeo-Christian sexual morality and subvert laws against sex crimes.

Says Fr. Welsh, “Kinsey’s preposterous conclusion that children are sexual from birth is the foundation of today’s classroom sex education, both in public and parochial schools. It’s the 'scientific' justification for filling innocent little minds with pictures, films and discussions about sex.”

The outfit that turned Kinsey’s ideology into a sex ed curriculum was the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), founded in 1964. In 1970, SIECUS, together with Planned Parenthood, got the U.S. government to allocate funds to launch their sex ed programs. Since then, according to HLI, U.S. taxpayers have been forced to spend over $3 billion on sex ed, which is now taught in nearly every school in America, including Catholic schools.

The Results of Sex Ed

When sex ed teaches children and adolescents that sexual relations exist mainly to provide pleasure (or “outlet,” as Kinsey put it), and are divorced from the procreative element, the results are disastrous.

Dr. Brian Clowes, author of The Facts of Life (HLI, 1997), painstakingly chronicles the catastrophes that American society suffered between the time sex education was implemented in schools, and 1991. The number of babies aborted up 800%, babies born out of wedlock up 457%, child abuse up 500%, the divorce rate up 133%, single-parent families up 214%, unmarried couples co-habitating up 279%, venereal disease up 245%, teen suicide up 214%, and the rate of juvenile violent crime up 295%.

Incredibly, sex education advocates use these facts as ammunition to call for an expanded effort to teach sex education in schools-and to even younger age groups.

“The reason is a matter of sexual economics,” suggests Clowes. “Sex ed’s proponents know that once it stimulates children’s imaginations and desires, many of them will become promiscuous and begin using contraceptives. Many will march straight to Planned Parenthood to get their supply. Many of the girls will conceive babies through contraceptive failure and then become paying customers of Planned Parenthood’s many abortion facilities.”

But the agenda is supported by many more organizations than just Planned Parenthood. In the early ‘90s the nation’s highest ranking health officer, Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders, endorsed comprehensive sex education as a way of reducing unwed childbearing and STDs among teenagers. In addition, state legislatures and the pillars of the health and school establishment-including the National Association of School Psychologists, the American Medical Association, the National School Boards Association, and the Society for Adolescent Medicine-support this approach, even in the face of the disturbing statistics. Sex ed is currently mandated in 17 states.

The Garden Path

Since comprehensive sex education purportedly seeks to build self-esteem, prevent sexual abuse and promote respect for “diverse” families, many are inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to the political, education and health establishments, and not buy into any sinister motive theories.

Whitehead suggests that parents who support sex education are similarly well-meaning, but misguided. “To panicky parents worried about their ability to protect their children from AIDS and other diseases, comprehensive sex education offers a reassuring message: the schools will teach your children how to protect themselves.”

The situation is grim, because parents clearly do need help. But there are some encouraging signs. Organizations like the Couple to Couple League, which promote teen chastity, are flourishing. And The Alan Guttmacher Institute, a pro-contraceptive group linked to Planned Parenthood, has admitted that sex education has failed in its chief aim-reducing the number of babies conceived out of wedlock. Perhaps other respected groups will follow, and people of good will in the pro-sex ed camp will recognize the error of their ways and begin advocating abstinence.

Otherwise, high-profile public figures and institutions will continue leading Americans down the garden path on the question of how to best protect children from the dangers of premature sexual involvement. But here again, the state’s approach is the handiwork of men. One can either subscribe to man’s wisdom on this crucial issue or follow the Church position which affirms that parents are the primary educators of their children.

Resources to Assist Parents with the Healthy Sexual Formation of Their Children

New Corinthians Curriculum (Couple to Couple League)

Practicing Teen Chastity (CCL)

Human Life International


You can e-mail Tom Allen at

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