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What's behind the furor over Sex Education?

Millions are concerned about the latest trend in U.S. education — sex education beginning in kindergarten.
Outraged, indignant parents protest.
Others approve.
What is all the uproar about?


AND NOW, sex education has erupted onto the scene. Newer than the New Math, sex education has become one of the hottest, most controversial topics of our day.

In communities throughout the United States, parents have organized to combat modern progressive trends in sex education. They are especially opposed to sex education in primary grades.

Millions of others are confused, perplexed. They wonder, "Isn't sex education a good thing?" "Shouldn't young children learn about sex at school?"

The battle lines have been drawn between the advocates of "the Old Morality" and "the New Morality." Much of the growing concern over sex education comes from the middle class.

It is time we looked at the real answers to today's questions about sex education for children.


Once a Hushed Subject

Years ago, any public discussion of sex was forbidden. Sex was a hush-hush subject. Because of Victorian prudery, sex education was taboo. Religious teaching made sex appear a terrible sin — something to be ashamed of, embarrassed about, or guilty of.

Since 1917 a great rebellion has taken place. The pendulum is fast swinging in the opposite direction — to the point where "anything goes."

We live, therefore, in a world of fast-changing moral values. Americans and Britons are far more permissive about morals than they were only a few years ago! Traditional values, "the Old Morality," are being rejected. In moral matters there are two different Americas — the moral conservatives who cling to traditional views of morality; and the moral liberals who endorse the "New Morality."

A large majority of persons over the age of 30 say premarital sex relations are wrong, but adults in their 20's are closely divided in their opinions. In a nationwide Gallup Poll, 68 percent of adults said premarital sex is wrong. When the identical question was put to 1,030 college students, however, 66 percent said sex relations before marriage are not wrong! A similar Gallup survey in Sweden revealed even more liberal attitudes toward sex: 85 percent of Swedes interviewed said that it is not wrong for persons who think they are in love to have intercourse without marriage.

But what does this have to do with "sex education"? A great deal. But first, let's look at the results of the sexual revolution.


Worldwide SEXplosion

Because increasing numbers of young people have rejected the prudish, Victorian attitudes toward sex of the older generation, and are turning to a permissive, "anything goes" type of sexual experimentation, big changes are occurring in society.

First, divorce is rampant. The Harris Poll revealed that divorce is sanctioned today by 72 percent of the American public! Nationwide, one out of three marriages statistically ends in divorce.

A few years ago very few would have condoned sex perversion and homosexuality. Today, a large minority — 30 percent — finds nothing wrong with homosexual acts between consenting adults! This type of sexual activity is rapidly growing.

Because of the new permissiveness toward sex, venereal disease is skyrocketing faster than any other contagious disease! Venereal disease infects about 900 American teenagers every day. It infects more American GIs in the Vietnam War than in any war in history. Government estimates of the extent of the disease vary between 1,500,000 and 4,000,000 new cases every year.

Because of the world's sexplosion, unwanted, illegitimate pregnancies are rocketing upward. In 1965 about 300,000 illegitimate babies were born in the United States — one of every 15 births! In the 1970s, it will reach one in ten, if present trends continue. And it would be much higher were it not for abortions — legal or illegal.

But what does this have to do with sex education in the schools?


What the Uproar Is About

The moral changes in the Western world are tied in intimately with the sex education problem. The advocates of massive sex education, beginning in kindergarten and the elementary grades, blame the shocking increases in venereal disease, illegitimacy, and promiscuity on lack of proper sex education. They claim parents — having been brought up with Victorian principles and looking on sex as "hush-hush," and feeling embarrassed to teach it to their children — are all too often ignorant of sex themselves, are not fulfilling their responsibility toward their children, and are unqualified to teach the subject. Therefore, they claim school is the best place for sex to be taught.

The need, they claim, is self-evident. Witness the rising rates of VD and illegitimacy. Since children all too often are not learning about sex at home — since too many parents have abdicated their responsibility — they have generally been learning about sex in the "gutter," from others their own age or a little older. How much better, they say, it would be for children to learn about sex from educators and authorities than "on the street."

And in principle, of course, they have a very strong point. Something obviously needs to be done! Letting children learn about sex from other children is not the answer!

If parents had studied the subject themselves and become qualified to teach their children about sex, there would have been no uproar — no need to emphasize sex in the school classroom. But millions of parents don't want this responsibility. They much prefer having schoolteachers handle this touchy matter!

The issue, then, is not sex education as such. Everybody agrees that children need to be taught about sex. The issue is who is going to do the teaching? And from what approach or viewpoint are the children going to be taught? Here is where the great controversy comes in!

Will sex education in school solve the rising problems of venereal disease, illegitimacy, divorce? Will it prepare children to grow to become mature, sound-minded, balanced adults?

Perhaps a glance at Sweden and Denmark will give us the answers.


The Evidence from Sweden and Denmark

Sex education has been compulsory in Swedish schools since 1956. Every child, from age 6 to 16, is taught about sex. What are the results?

Physicians say gonorrhea and syphilis are more widespread in Sweden today than in any other civilized country in the world. A study revealed that about half of all boys who had VD admitted having sexual relations with at least 40 different girls. Ten percent said they had had relations with as many as two hundred!

A recent Swedish study entitled On Sexual Life in Sweden concluded that the young people in Sweden are having sex relations with more persons and starting a sex life earlier than their parents.

Ninety-three percent of all Swedes accept sex relations between engaged couples or those "going steady." Ninety-eight percent of the married population had intercourse before marriage. Of women over 30, twenty percent waited until their wedding night for their first sexual experience; but of those under 30, only nine percent!

An estimated 38 percent of Swedish brides are pregnant at their weddings. One child out of every seven is born outside of marriage!

These are the conditions in Sweden, today. Two conclusions should be obvious: First, sex education in the schools in Sweden has not solved Sweden's morality problems! It has not stopped or curbed either the rate of venereal diseases, or the numbers of illegitimate children! Second, the kind of sex education adopted in Sweden has had the exact opposite effect! As a result, one hundred and forty Swedish physicians and the King's physician petitioned the government about the "sexual hysteria" in young people, charging that the problem "appears to be a product of modern education in our schools' sex education program"!

Those Swedes who blindly trusted in sex education programs to solve the rising incidence in venereal diseases and promiscuity, and increasing illegitimacy, were gravely mistaken. What went wrong?

Denmark has also had a sex education program in the schools for years. The results have been similar to those in Sweden. One third of brides are pregnant at the altar. Venereal diseases have hit catastrophic proportions. Teenage marriages are rapidly increasing — several hundred percent in the last decade. Twenty-five percent of pregnancies end in abortion!

Is this the route you want to go? Is this the way you want your children to end up? True, the prudish Victorian "hush-hush" attitude toward sex failed the younger and older generations! But sex education in schools, as practiced in Sweden and Denmark, has equally failed!

Why? What is the answer?