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Mary Steichen Calderone: Sex Ed Pioneer

[ photo: Mary Steichen Calderone ]

Sex Ed Pioneer

When the genteel and soft-spoken Dr. Mary Steichen Calderone '25 launched S.I.E.C.U.S. (Sex Information and Education Council of the United States) in 1964, the religious right marshaled the opposition, forming groups like M.O.M.S. (Mothers Organized for Moral Stability), fabricating dark rumors about the sexual exploits and communist leanings of sex educators, digging up "dirt" on Calderone herself (an out-of-wedlock pregnancy), and picketing her public appearances. Dubbed "the grandmother of sex education" by Time magazine, Calderone believed that "sex education should not force sexual standards upon anyone, but should make information available for young people and adults to reach their own moral decisions."


VQ Winter 2000, from Jeffrey P. Moran's essay, adapted from his book Teaching Sex: Shaping Adolescence in the 20th Century
Photo credit: VQ