The Weekly Sam: A Short Uncensored History of Sex Ed

By Samuel L. Blumenfeld

The dictum that ideas have consequences is nowhere better demonstrated than in the
ideas that have led to the introduction of sex education in American schools. The first
idea of consequence was Sigmund Freud’s notion that sexual repression causes neurosis.
If sexual repression makes you ill or creates dysfunction, then the remedy, of course, is
free sexual expression. That was not the cure that Freud recommended, but Freud’s idea
so strongly influenced American culture that clothes for women went from the trussed up
sexually repressed fashions of 1900 to the loose liberating flapper skirts of the roaring
twenties-in only twenty years!
The second idea came from Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, who
launched a campaign in 1916 to promote contraception and abortion in order to free
women from the burdens of unwanted pregnancy. Sanger later adopted the views of the
eugenicists who promoted the idea that the fit should be encouraged to have children and
the unfit to not. Sex education became an indispensable part of Sanger’s birth control
movement. As a result, Planned Parenthood has been one of the pioneer advocates of
comprehensive sex education in the schools. In 1953, Planned Parenthood staffer Lena
Levine wrote: “[Our goal] is to be ready as educators and parents to help young people
obtain sex satisfaction before marriage. By sanctioning sex before marriage, we will
prevent fear and guilt. … we must be ready to provide young boys and girls with the best
contraception measures available so they will have the necessary means to achieve sexual
satisfaction without having to risk possible pregnancy.”
The third idea came from sexologist Alfred C. Kinsey, head of the Institute for Sex
Research at Indiana University, subsidized by the Rockefeller Foundation. Dr. Kinsey’s
best-selling report, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, published in 1958, promulgated
the idea that human beings are sexual from birth. The data on 317 infants and young
boys was supposedly the source of that idea. This controversial data was obtained from a
pedophile who had actually masturbated infants and boys and kept records of his
experiments. All of this was exposed years later by Dr. Judith Reisman, who accused
Kinsey of complicity in the sexual abuse of young children. Her book, Kinsey: Crimes &
Consequences (1998), provides all the sordid details.
The fourth idea came from Dr. Mary Calderone, past Medical Director of Planned
Parenthood. She and her colleagues launched SIECUS, the Sex Information and
Education Council of the United States, at the Kinsey Institute, specifically to teach
Kinseyan sexual ideology as sex education. Dr. Calderone transfonned sex education
into sexuality education, presently taught in American schools. SIECUS has provided the
public schools with a wide variety of sex education materials: films, slides, books, and
The fifth idea came from the Humanist Manifesto of 1973, which challenged the views of
orthodox religion on sexual behavior and proclaimed total sexual freedom among
consenting adults as the new moral standard for sexual behavior. The Manifesto was
signed by many academicians, including Dr. Lester A. Kirkendall, a director of SIECUS,
as well as by Dr. Alan C. Guttmacher, president of Planned Parenthood.
In 1976, Dr. Kirkendall published A New Bill ofSexual Rights and Responsibilities,
signed by 37 leading sexologists and authors. The book states: “Humanists have had an
important role in the sexual revolution. Although Humanist Manifesto II contains a brief
section on sexuality, we thought a more detailed statement would be useful.”
Out of this interlocking directorate of humanist sex education organizations came the
ideas that have formed the ideology of the sexual revolution and the curriculum of sex
education in American schools. The results have seen dramatic changes in teen sexual
behavior with its tragic consequences: more pre-marital sex experimentation, more teen
pregnancies, more teen abortions, more teen venereal disease, more teen emotional
unhappiness leading to an increase in drug addiction. Inevitably, pre-marital sex leads to
abusive jealousy among teens as they change sex partners. This has resulted in physical
abuse and even murders.
There is little doubt that pre-marital sex is the cause of more social problems than any
other activity in America today. Yet, pre-marital, recreational sex is heavily promoted by
music, television sitcoms, movies, books, and other products of popular culture. All of
this is legitimized by the so-called liberating ideas of Freud, Sanger, Kinsey, Calderone,
and others, while attempts to return to the moral standards based on religion are rejected
as reactionary, repressive, outmoded, and authoritarian.
Meanwhile, the sexual revolution changed America’s views on sex as reflected in actions
by government and the courts. In 1965, the u.s. Supreme Court, in the case of Griswold
v. Connecticut, ruled that Connecticut’s law prohibiting the use of contraceptives by
married couples violated a newly defined right of marital privacy. As a result, ten states
liberalized their family planning laws and began to provide family planning services with
tax funds.
In 1970, Congress enacted Title X of the Public Health Services Act, which provided
support and funding for family planning services and educational programs, and for
biomedical and behavioral research in reproduction and contraceptive development. Title

X also authorized funding for a Center for Population Research within the National
Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
In 1970, New York state enacted the most progressive abortion law in the nation, and
Planned Parenthood of Syracuse, New York, became the first affiliate to offer abortion
In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that the constitutional right of
privacy extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion, thereby legalizing abortion
throughout the United States. In 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Planned Parenthood
of Central Missouri v. Danforth, struck down state requirements for parental and spousal
consent for abortion and set aside a state prohibition against saline abortions.
In 1976, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, named after Planned Parenthood’s president,
published 11 Million Teenagers, which focused attention on the problem of teen
pregnancy and childbearing in the United States.
In 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court found the Massachusetts statute, restricting minors’
access to abortion, unconstitutional. It ruled that if states required minors to obtain
parental consent for an abortion, they must also give minors the alternative of obtaining
the consent of a judge, in confidential proceedings and without first notifying their
In 1979, the California State Department of Education published a draft of its new sex
education curriculum, Education for Human Sexuality: A Resource Book and
Instructional Guide to Sex Education for Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve. The new
program was developed with partial funding from the U.S. Office of Education. It called
for explicit instruction in human sexual intercourse, alternative sexual life styles,
abortion, masturbation and other issues involving sexuality.
Beginning in preschool or kindergarten with mixed-group visits to restrooms, these visits
are followed by a description of male and female genitalia. The children read two
pamphlets from Planned Parenthood which tell them that “masturbation is a perfectly
acceptable, useful, comforting thing to do with sexual feelings” and “masturbation cannot
hurt you and it will make you feel more relaxed.”
At age nine, children begin their study of methods of birth control, including “all the
contraceptive methods and services available.” At age 12, children “visit a local drug
store to check the availability of contraceptive products.” They study the law regarding
emancipated minors who are “making their own decisions.” They learn that “pregnancy
prevention services are available to young people without parental consent.” They take a
field trip to a “family planning clinic” and they go through it “from beginning to end” and
fill out a patient’s form for such a clinic.

Also at age 12, boys and girls study “unplanned pregnancy” and discuss whether it is best
to have the baby, offer it for adoption, or have an abortion. They discuss the “support
system” that is available to them and they listen to a guest speaker from Planned
Parenthood. They learn that the decision for an abortion is theirs alone to make requiring
no consultation with their parents.
The curriculum recommends ten days of sex instruction in each school year from preschool
through the 12th grade. The program calls for the development of “decision making
skills” through exercises in “values clarification.” It should be noted that this
program in sexuality has been implemented throughout the United States in many school
In 1981, the Alan Guttmacher Institute published Teenage Pregnancy: The Problem that
Hasn’t Gone away, an analysis of teen sexuality, contraceptive knowledge and use, and
pregnancy experience. It emphasized the need for making confidential contraceptive
services accessible to sexually active teens.
In 1982, Planned Parenthood published “Sexuality Alphabet,” a tool for sex education.
George Grant, author of Grand lllusions, writes of this publication: “Planned
Parenthood’s sex education programs and materials are brazenly perverse. They are
frequently accentuated with crudely obscene four-letter words and illustrated by
explicitly ribald nudity. They openly endorse aberrant behavior-homosexuality,
masturbation, fornication, incest, and even bestiality-and then they describe that
behavior in excruciating detail.”
In 1983, the National Education Association included the following resolution in its
Handbook under the title of Family Life Education:
The National Education Association believes that the developing child’s sexuality
is continually and inevitably influenced by daily contacts, including experiences
in the school environment. The Association recognizes that sensitive sex
education can be a positive force in promoting physical, mental, and social health
and that the public school must assume an increasingly important role in
providing the instruction. Teachers must be qualified to teach in this area and
must be legally protected from censorship and lawsuits ….
The Association urges its affiliates and members to support appropriately
established sex education programs, including information on birth control and
family planning, parenting skills, sexually transmitted diseases, incest and sexual
abuse, the effects of substance abuse during pregnancy, and problems associated
with and resulting from preteen and teenage pregnancies.
In 1993 it added “information on sexual abstinence, diversity of sexual orientation,
prenatal care, and sexual harassment” to its list of sex education programs. In other
words, the scope of sex education keeps getting larger and larger. For example,
information on homosexuality has developed into a course of its own within the sexuality

In 1985, the Alan Guttmacher Institute published its report on Teen Pregnancy in
Industrialized Countries, indicating that the U.S. teen pregnancy rate of 96 per 1,000 was
the highest in the developed world. A two-year study by the National Academy of
Sciences agreed with the AGI study and concluded that “prevention of adolescent
pregnancy should have the highest priority,” and “making contraceptive methods
available and accessible to those who are sexually active and encouraging them to
diligently use these methods is the surest major strategy for pregnancy prevention.”
In 1970, less than half of the nation’s school districts offered sex education curricula and
only one had school-based birth control clinics. In 1998, more than seventy-five percent
of the districts teach sex education and there are more than one hundred clinics in
operation. Yet the percentage of illegitimate births has only increased during that time,
from only fifteen percent to a mind-boggling fifty-one percent. In California, where
public schools have had sex education for more than thirty years, the rate often
pregnancy is the highest in the nation. (Grant, p. 128)
Meanwhile, the AIDS epidemic in the United States, which began with eleven cases in
1979, had grown to 24,000 cases in 1986, to 339,250 cases in 1993, to 665,357 cases in
1998. The National Education Association has recommended that AIDS education
become an integral part of the school curriculum. “AIDS education must include
education about all means of transmission, including sex and intravenous (IV) drug use.
Information on prevention options must include abstinence and medically accepted
protective devices. Instruction in decision-making skills to assist students in correlating
health information and personal behavior is essential.”
On September 15,1985, the Chicago Sun-Times reported: “Free birth control pills and
condoms are being dispensed to Du Sable High School students by a new clinic in the
South Side school. A second clinic is scheduled to open Feb. 1 at Orr High School on the
West Side for the same purpose …. William Young, director of teen health for the Ounce
of Prevention Fund, a member of a coalition of foundations fmancing the two clinics, said
the opening of medical clinics in high schools is “part of a national trend. ” Young said
that cities with clinics in high schools included St. Paul, Minn., Dallas, New York,
Kansas City, Cleveland and San Francisco …. The Du Sable clinic’s operating costs are
$225,000 a year, Young said, all being provided by the coalition of foundations, which
includes the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, N.J.; the Joyce Foundation of
Chicago; Pittway Corp. Charitable Foundation of Northbrook; and the Commonwealth
Fund of New York.”
It was inevitable that sexuality education would have to include same-sex behavior, or
homosexuality, in a very open way. On February 10, 1992, Governor William F. Weld of
Massachusetts, signed an executive order creating the nation’s first Governor’s
Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. The Commission was formed in response to the
epidemic of suicide by young gays, lesbians, and bisexuals as revealed in the 1989
federal report on youth suicide. That report concluded that gay youth represented “up to
30 percent of (the estimated 5,000) completed youth suicides annually.”

The Governor’s Commission made five key recommendations for schools: (1) School
systems should make public commitments to ensure that schools are safe places, free of
discrimination, violence, and harassment for gay and lesbian students. (2) Teachers,
guidance counselors, and all school staff should be trained to respond to the needs of gay
and lesbian students. (3) Every high school in the Commonwealth should establish a
support group where gay and straight students can meet each week and discuss gay and
lesbian issues. (4) All school libraries should develop a collection of literature, books,
films, and pamphlets for students seeking to learn more on gay and lesbian issues. (5)
Gay and lesbian themes and issues should be integrated into all subject areas in the
school curriculum.
In August 1994, the Governor’s Commission produced a report on the “Prevention of
Health Problems Among Gay and Lesbian Youth” and “Making Health and Human
Services Accessible and Effective for Gay and Lesbian Youth.”
It has become increasingly difficult to tell the difference between sex education and
pornography, for sex education is not about education, it’s about sex, and it’s difficult to
teach about sex explicitly without it becoming pornographic. For example, on March 25,
2000, the Massachusetts Department of Education, the Governor’s Commission for Gay
and Lesbian Youth, and the Gay and Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
co-sponsored a statewide conference at Tufts University called “Teach Out.” Teenagers
and children as young as 12 were encouraged to come from around the state, and many
were bussed in from their home districts. Homosexual activists came from across the
country to take part in the conference.
According to audio tapes made at the conference, participants discussed oral sex, anal
sex, vaginal sex, oral-vaginal sex, clitoral sex, and a homosexual practice called “fisting.”
Needless to say that when the public became aware of the substance of the Teach Out, it
caused a scandal that made headlines and was vigorously discussed on radio talk shows.
In February 1999, SIECUS conducted a public poll on its Internet site asking readers
‘”who had the greatest impact in bringing about a positive change in the way America
understands and affirms sexuality. The top ten, chosen from a list of 100, were Judy
Blume, Mary Calderone, Ellen DeGeneres, Joycelyn Elders, Hugh Hefner, Anita Hill,
Magic Johnson, Madonna, Gloria Steinam, and Ruth Westheimer.”
Obviously, there are many parents who do not share the views of the top ten. Judy
Blume’s novels have often been cited as too sexually explicit. But objection to sex
education is nothing new. Various parent and religious groups have been critical of
explicit sex education from the day it became known what was in the materials that
Planned Parenthood and SIECUS were providing the schools.
Since neither parents nor religious groups have been able to stop the sexual revolution or
the humanist sexuality juggernaut, they have called for greater emphasis on abstinence
and less on contraception and condom distribution. They achieved a substantial victory
when the Congress voted in favor of an $88 million “Abstinence Only” program as part
of President Clinton’s “National Strategy to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.” Starting in the fall
of the year 2000, abstinence-only programs began to receive automatic re-funding every
year for the next five years during the federal government’s appropriations process.
One would have thought that the sex educators would have been happy with a federal
program funding “Abstinence Only.” Instead, SIECUS has launched a no-holds-barred
campaign against “Abstinence Only,” claiming that it won’t prevent teenage pregnancies
or STDs. They call the program “fear-based.” But what’s wrong with being afraid of
getting an unwanted pregnancy or getting AIDS? Fear prevents people from doing
wrong things and foolish things. It is an important part of our self-protective instinct.
If “Abstinence Only” is fear-based, is sexuality education pleasure-based? These
increasingly hot debates over sex education will continue for years to come as humanists
and Christians struggle for control of what goes on in the public schools.

A link to this 1999 article from the Sam Blumenfeld Archives: