By Jonathon Van Maren
How did we get modern sex education — and why? These are questions I frequently get from parents. A few years ago, I decided to pose them to Peter Hitchens, a well known journalist, author, and cultural commentator hailing from Oxford, England. He has had much to say about the idea of modern sex education in his various writings and media interviews. For more insight into how modern sex education in the West came about, I decided to interview him. According to his analysis, the suspicions of many parents are absolutely correct. In his view, the entire concept of sex education fails on its own terms.
“The problem with sex education,” he told me by phone, “is that the ostensible purpose for which it is advocated turns out not to be true. I did a study a few years ago of the development of sex education in my own country, and what I found is that it’s been justified really since the middle part of the Second World War, when of course there were a lot of venereal diseases, on the basis that if people were better educated about it, then it would reduce the amount of sexually transmitted disease and the amount of unwanted pregnancy. And yet if you watch the figures for both sexually transmitted disease and for unwanted pregnancy, and increasingly now for abortion, we find that despite the greater and greater extent of sex education in our society, more and more frankness about sex, and more and more pornography (which is also supposed to end repression), the number of people becoming pregnant when they didn’t want to continues to rise and the number of people contracting sexually transmitted diseases continues to rise.”