SIECUS – Sex-ed Subterfuge


The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) was established in 1964 when Mary Calderone left her position as medical director of Planned Parenthood to become founding executive director. Joining forces as a founding board member was Wardell Pomeroy, collaborator with Alfred Kinsey on Kinsey’s two seminal volumes on sexual behavior. Despite the official sounding name, SIECUS is not a government organization but an independent non-profit.

Calderone said SIECUS would “perhaps take positions on problems of sexuality in America.” Where most Americans might have listed, say, rape or child molestation as sex-related problems, the primary problem SIECUS saw then (and continues to perceive now) was a lack of information about sex. Calderone diagnosed the source of this problem to be religious and moral restraints on sexual expression, writing in The Family Book about Sexuality, that “religious laws or rules about sex were made on the basis of ignorance.”

Wanted For:

SIECUS prescribed the remedy for this ignorance to be comprehensive sex education, beginning with five-year-olds. The organization’s three strategic objectives, articulated in a 2007 annual report are as follows: (1) Education: “Ensure that all people receive comprehensive education about sexuality that helps them integrate information and skills into their lives;” (2) Advocacy: “Promote, protect, and secure public policies that advance sexual and reproductive health and rights;” and (3) Inform: “Ensure an abundance of accurate, balanced, useful, and accessible information about human sexuality.” Whatever nuance distinguishes objective (1) from (3), the redundancy reveals the burning passion at SIECUS that the sexual revolution leave no child behind.

According to its website, SIECUS receives funding from individual contributions, foundation grants, and a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Initial seed money and several subsequent grants were provided by The Playboy Foundation, headed by Hugh Heffner, prompting Dr. Judith Resiman, in a 1999 article titled, Porno, Part of a Well-Rounded Education, to ask, “Since SIECUS targeted primary and secondary grade children, not college students, was Heffner that interested in children’s issues, or did the sex tycoon give SIECUS [grant money] knowing it was good business?”

Most Recent Offense:

Since the 1990’s, public enemy number one according to SIECUS has been abstinence-until-marriage sex-ed programs. Since SIECUS views any attempt to limit sex as repressive and counter to human design, such morality based sex-ed is seen as a violation of sexual rights. Calling these programs “harmful” and “fear-based,” SIECUS has targeted them for elimination, not just in America but across the globe. Declaring it “unacceptable that people throughout the world are still lacking the basic facts they need to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive lives,” SIECUS reaches abroad like an international morality watchdog. Its International Right Wing Watch monitors “right wing organizations and news sources” and disseminates information on abortion, sex education, and sexual orientation, effectively spreading America’s questionably beneficial sexual revolution across the globe.

SIECUS states its core belief this way: “SIECUS affirms that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human, one that is worthy of dignity and respect.” I have no disagreement there. But SIECUS doesn’t seem to grasp that dignity and respect are inherently moral concepts. And moral imperatives require limits on human behavior. Sex is like fire. Controlled and contained, it can be a powerful force for good. Out of control, it ultimately destroys. Who would advocate for the right of five-year-olds to play with matches?

This article first appeared in Salvo 9, Summer 2009.

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3 Comments on “SIECUS – Sex-ed Subterfuge

  1. Terrell, I do agree with this post in that Abstinence should be openly talked about, accepted, and embraced! But at the same time I am a fan of sex education because it is every individuals choice to decided to wait until marriage or not. Being raised in a Christian home, where abstinence was the ONLY WAY made it unable for the topic of basic sex safety skills and openness to be discussed. There is something to be said for being able to talk about sex in a school atmosphere where you can ask questions without being looked at as if you are having sex and doing wrong. I do think that even though you can raise children to stay abstinent, there is a good chance they wont, and when that happens, will they know how to protect them selves or will they be too embarrassed to ask a doctor to give them a pill to help them take the proper precautions. Overall I agree that abstinence is overall thrown out of most schools all together and it is THE ONLY WAY to prevent STD’s and unwanted pregnancy’s as well has broken hearts, guilt, and hurt feelings. But I feel as if without sex education, (and I speak for myself on this), people raised in some ABSTINENCE ONLY households would be lost and end up facing unwanted pregnancies and STDS if it wasn’t for the program of Sex Education and the right to decided for yourself (right or wrong) if you wanted to follow the Abstinence decision or not.


    • Hi Kaitlin! It’s nice to hear from you. I can tell you’ve thought about this a lot. There’s a lot I have in mind to offer in response, but first, two questions to ponder:

      (1) What is the purpose and place of sex?
      (2) What is the goal of SIECUS? Here’s a recent article that goes into a little more detail about what SIECUS actually does. I’m wondering, is this something you would support?


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