The Legacy of the Sexual Revolution

By: Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon; ©2002
For decades Planned Parenthood and other “family planning” agencies have promised the American public that the crisis of teenage pregnancies, abortions and sexually transmitted diseases would ease or cease if young people were thoroughly educated about their sexuality and given contraception. Has it worked?

The Legacy of the Sexual Revolution

False Promises

For decades, Planned Parenthood and other “family planning” agencies have promised the American public that the crisis of teenage pregnancies, abortions, and sexually trans­mitted diseases would ease or cease if young people were thoroughly educated about their sexuality, given contraceptive methods and devices, and encouraged to develop sexual practices that were “right for them.”

But it would appear that the crisis has escalated, largely as a result of such education— there are now far more pregnancies, abortions, and major epidemics of sexually transmit­ted diseases than ever before. Proponents claim that the reason for this is a continued shortage of comprehensive sex education programs. But this is false. “Different studies produce different figures, but they all confirm that sex education is common across the country…. Numerous studies confirm the prevalence, not shortage, of sex education courses in the United States.” [1] The reason that so-called comprehensive sex education has failed our children—unfortunately, at their expense—is because many sex educators (1) do not understand the problem and, therefore, (2) propose wrong solutions. Modern sex education is not only a failure; it can be harmful to children in a number of ways.

In fact, it can be demonstrated demographically that wherever “comprehensive sex education programs” exist, the rates of teenage sex activity, pregnancy, abortion, and sexually transmitted diseases continue to mount. But in those districts promoting absti­nence, parental involvement, and education concerning the consequences of promiscuity, there is a significant reduction in these four crisis areas. 2[2]

Coauthor John Weldon told a leading representative of Planned Parenthood on national television that studies had confirmed the problems of comprehensive sex education. Her response was only a flat denial that this was true. She claimed that Planned Parenthood was essential to the nation’s health.

What is so tragic is that we have abandoned our own children to sexual promiscuity in the guise of helping them “handle” their sexuality. But teenagers don’t want sex; they want values and meaning in their lives. They want love. In fact, a study conducted in the junior high schools of a major American city revealed that 67 percent of kids said their greatest need in sex education was not the “comprehensive sex education” of Planned Parenthood, but rather learning how to say no to sexual pressure. [3] Even teens can recognize that sexual intimacy is often too powerful for adolescents to handle responsibly—why many sex educators can’t seem to understand this is a mystery.

Susan is a good example. Although she was raised in a Christian home and understood the importance of not becoming romantically involved with unbelievers, she fell into the wrong crowd and began dating a young man with whom she soon fell in love.

Susan intuitively knew that she was not ready for sexual activity, but because of her love for this man, she gave in to his continual encouragements to “show her love” for him. Once she had given in, her boyfriend abandoned her, apparently satisfied with his conquest. But Susan was crushed; she felt used and betrayed. It took her several months of counseling and almost a year to heal from the consequences of a single, brief, sexual encounter. “I wish I had known,” she said. “I knew I wasn’t ready, but I couldn’t deal with the intimidation of my sex ed class.”

Teen Promiscuity

Teenagers have enough problems today without being encouraged into early sexual activity. Various studies, including one by the U.S. Surgeon General, reveal that many of the nation’s teenagers and twenty-three million college students are now drug and alcohol abusers because their lives lack meaning and purpose. Because there is so little faith in the future, it is also easy for them to “live for today” in terms of physical or sensual gratification. Unfortunately, this only compounds their problems. For example, Brandon told us how he felt about life as a teenager: “Life is so boring. So I’ve found my own excitement. I don’t have a lot of money, but sex is a cheap thrill that doesn’t cost anything and can be done anywhere. It is easy to find a girl who is willing. Life is so meaningless anyway, why not?” Brandon never knew that Shirley, one of his “cheap thrills,” would later kill herself as a result of his sexual abuse; or that he would spend twenty years in jail upon conviction of rape. Teenagers rarely see the consequences of actions that are done in a moment of passion or misguided love.

On the TV special “C. Everett Koop, M.D., Listening to Teenagers,” [4] the former Surgeon General commented, “Teenagers are walking through a mine field.” He noted that most teens have little or no self-esteem, and this leads to drugs, alcohol abuse, and sexual promiscuity. It was startling to hear him say that almost 50 percent of teenagers suffer from depression severe enough to require treatment. Home problems, grade problems, relation­ship problems, and parental drug and alcohol abuse are some of the causes.

He also emphasized that what adolescents choose to do is what puts them at risk. For example, teens can no longer afford to not worry about AIDS, because teenage infection rates are increasing dramatically. Yet more than 50 percent have had sex by eighteen, and every year one in ten teenage girls becomes pregnant. Further, 50 percent of teenagers drink, and one in three is a heavy drinker; thousands die each year in alcohol-induced car accidents. Thousands more commit suicide—a “last resort” that is not infrequently linked to premarital sexual intercourse.

What is the solution? Dr. Koop emphasized that “communication is the first step in health care” and that sometimes the right words are better than a doctor’s prescription. He noted that lack of communication between parents and teens is the greatest problem we face.

Josh McDowell has outlined both the problem and the solution in The Myths of Sex Education. He observes that almost all teenagers and college students have two basic fears—that they will never be loved and that they will never be able to love. As McDowell points out, “One out of every two marriages ends in divorce, and many of the couples who remain married model hatred, distrust or apathy instead of love. No wonder so many kids today are unable to develop close, intimate relationships.” [5]

When parents don’t show love to their children, those children may search for love elsewhere. One questionnaire among a thousand high school students revealed that 50 percent were uncertain that their parents loved them. [6] McDowell explains: “Fathers are often worse offenders than mothers in failing to communicate love…. I truly believe that lots of hugs between fathers and their teen daughters would do more to stop the teen pregnancy epidemic than any other single factor.” [7]

In discussing the reasons that children become sexually involved, McDowell further reveals, If I had to give one reason, I would say [they] get sexually involved in search of a father’s love…. We don’t have a teenage sexual crisis—we have a teenage/parental relationship crisis. Teens are looking for intimacy from those who love them, particularly their fathers. When they don’t find it there, they turn to sexual activity to get it…. Our kids don’t want sex as much as they want to be loved. It’s as true for sons as it is for daughters…. They want someone who cares, who will listen and who will talk to them, and they want it to start with their fathers. This is the heartache of the broken home, whether through a legal divorce, an “emotional divorce” between parents and their children, or simply a lack of love and communication. Kids who are not loved at home will look for love in all the wrong places. [8]

It can’t be denied that need for love and intimacy is one of the deepest needs we experi­ence. Unfortunately, this is something that liberal sex education, thinking it is working on behalf of teens, continues to deny them by promoting the very promiscuity and personal insecurity it seeks to prevent.

Fathers and mothers need to learn not only how to express love to their children, but they also need to know the facts concerning the current social situation in which their children are being reared and educated by society. If the sexual epidemic is a search for love, and parents meet their children’s need for love, coupled with a common sense, absti­nence-based presentation of sex education, then the current tragedy can be halted.

  1. Dinah Richard, Has Sex Education Failed Our Teenagers? A Research Report (Pomona, CA: Focus on the Family, 1990), p. 18.
  2. See our The Myths of Safe Sex (Chicago: Moody Press, 1993) for documentation.
  3. Psychology Today, January/February 1989.
  4. November 18, 1991, 11:00 P.M. PBS.
  5. Josh McDowell, The Myths of Sex Education (San Bernardino, CA: Here’s Life, 1990), p. 16.
  6. Parents and Better Homemaking, December 1965, p. 40.
  7. McDowell, The Myths of Sex Education, p. 17.
  8. Ibid., pp. 22-23.

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