Sex ed, lies, and modern culture

Marcia Segelstein - Guest Columnist - 11/3/2009 10:30:00 AM Perhaps your local school's sex ed is taught as part of health class. That would be ironic, since in most cases, teaching sex education has less to do with health than indoctrination. In fact, much of what's taught under the heading of sex ed actually allows for practices that are distinctly un-healthy.

In her latest book, You're Teaching My Child What?, Dr. Miriam Grossman exposes the lies inherent in sex ed teachings and the dangers those lies pose for children. Grossman is also the author of Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness Endangers Every Student. (Read Marcia Segelstein's column last year on that book)

To understand how modern sex education came to be, it's necessary to go back to Alfred Kinsey. Dr. Kinsey's academic training was in the classification of insects. But his personal obsession was sex, so he made it his field of study. Kinsey was, Grossman writes, "a bona fide mental case." He filmed sexual encounters with his wife and among his staff as part of his so-called research. According to Grossman, "Kinsey was all in favor of adult-child sexual contact – what we think of as child molestation – and considered adults who engaged in it 'much maligned.'" He believed monogamy to be "unnatural," and he disapproved of abstinence.

Why should we care about Alfred Kinsey? "Because," Grossman writes, "modern sex education derives from the personal philosophy of this man....He set out to prove to the world, and probably himself, that there really wasn't anything wrong with him; and lo and behold, it turned out that his research on human sexuality did just that."

Years later, thanks in large part to the work of Dr. Judith Reisman, we now know that Kinsey's research into the sexual practices of Americans was flawed, to put it mildly. Even at the time, many questioned it. Lawrence Kubie, a leading psychiatrist of the day, said that Kinsey's research was filled with "inaccurate data...errors, exaggerations...ideas that are patently absurd." The popular press, on the other hand, bought it hook, line and sinker. As did the public: his first book was a bestseller.

Nonetheless, the influence of Alfred Kinsey can't be diminished. "Kinsey's findings spawned a revolution and transformed western culture," writes Grossman. Besides convincing a gullible public that bizarre sexual practices were the norm in America, his legacy was carried on by his associates and passed on to America's youth. Mary Calderone, who worked closely with Kinsey, founded SIECUS, which stands for Sex Information and Education Council of the United States. Today SIECUS thrives as the nation's preeminent sex ed organization and primary advocate for "comprehensive sexuality education." Not surprisingly, prior to forming SIECUS with seed money from none other than Hugh Hefner, Calderone had been director of Planned Parenthood.

Grossman writes that Calderone wasn't interested in having SIECUS teach about treating or preventing disease. "Like Kinsey, she was crusading for social reform...[She] believed there was an urgent need to break from traditional ideas about sex, especially the way it was taught to young people. She found fault with the model used in school-based programs because they focused on preventing pregnancy and venereal diseases...[now called sexually transmitted diseases]. Calderone believed that when the negativity of sex education is added to society's repressive morality, the result is too many no's."

SIECUS managed to work its way into school sex education programs across the country emphasizing sex as "positive, natural and healthy." Calderone teamed up with another Kinsey acolyte, Lester Kirkendall, and SIECUS began its radical transformation of sex ed. Grossman writes, "[T]hey embarked on a crusade to inculcate in American youth what were seen by them as eternal, unquestionable truths." Those "truths" included beliefs that "physical pleasure has worth as a moral value," and that "the boundaries of human sexuality need to be expanded." Traditional Judeo-Christian values were out. Kinsey's off-the-wall values were in.

In an interview with National Review Online, Dr. Grossman described a pamphlet called "Talk About Sex," published by SIECUS, written "especially for teens." There are eight pages on sexual rights. Among other things, the pamphlet tells teens that they "have the right to decide exactly what behaviors, if any, you are comfortable participating in." Dr. Grossman suggests trying to imagine a pamphlet on nutrition for teens that said: "There are many types of diets. A diet low in saturated fats, carbohydrates, and sugars helps prevent obesity and cardiac disease. Some kids try to keep a healthy diet, others don't. You have the right to decide what to eat." No school – or parent – would tolerate such absurdity. And yet the nation's premier sex education organization tells teens to decide for themselves.

Having treated a myriad of college students as a campus psychiatrist at UCLA, Dr. Grossman knows too well the results of "comprehensive sex education." Many of her young patients came to her already infected with herpes, Chlamydia and HPV. They were not only scared and upset: they were shocked. They'd been taught about "safer sex." They hadn't been taught about the lack of protection condoms, for example, provide against STDs, or the emotional devastation that can result from casual sexual encounters.

That one man's demented notions of sexuality have worked their way into a "respectable" organization used by schools from coast to coast is shocking. That children are being taught that an "anything goes" attitude toward sex is normal and healthy, thanks to that organization, is tragic. More on that in my next column.