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  • Writer's pictureTessa Oliver

Taking Back “The Talk”

Updated: Aug 9, 2022

“No, dear. We’re not going to tell them not to have sex. We’re going to teach them how to do it safer.”

When it comes to conversations about sexual education, many parents are reluctant to broach the subject with their children. While parents may have a variety of reasons for being hesitant to initiate such conversations, Monica Cline explains why a parent’s involvement is crucial in their child’s sexual education and how passivity in such matters can be dangerous.

Monica Cline worked for more than a decade as a Title X Training Manager and worked closely with Planned Parenthood as a volunteer educator. Her career focused on HIV prevention and education, comprehensive sex education (CSE), and Title X (family planning). She resigned in 2009.

Generally, there are two types of approaches used among sex educators: risk-reduction and risk-avoidance. Cline states that Comprehensive Education uses the risk-reduction approach when educating young people about sex.

Cline describes the risk-reduction method as essentially teaching students that, “you can do anything and everything that you want without judgement, just use a condom...get tested, get treated.”

While working as an HIV educator, Cline was trained on how to talk to teens. Cline was shocked by the stories that the Director of Education disclosed to her, which included girls as young as ten getting abortions without any parental involvement. Desiring to help, Cline asked the Director to teach her how to tell these young girls not to have sex. To her surprise, the Director replied, “No, dear. We’re not going to tell them not to have sex. We’re going to teach them how to do it safer.” (Director of Education for CSE).

According to the FBI, child molesters groom children by demonstrating sex acts, sexually arousing children, lowering their sexual inhibitions, and desensitizing children to sex. In comprehensive sex education curriculum, it is deeply disturbingly to see that it uses many of the same tactics of child molesters. Such manipulation of children is alarming and criminal.

Cline describes the flow of sex education sessions, which begin with an icebreaker, with the goal of making the children feel comfortable. These icebreakers, however, are far different from the friendly, get-to-know-you kind of questions typically used in icebreakers. Comprehensive sex educators ask children to share all the slang words that they know for women and men’s body parts. The conversation quickly becomes crude. This is not empowering children; it is dehumanizing them. Cline says that “Everything is being exposed to the child.” Additionally, graphic role play “is very instrumental in these curriculums.” Ascend, a non-profit organization focused on sexual risk avoidance, shares a startling statistic. “Teens say that they feel pressured to have sex in most federally-funded sex ed programs.” Students admit that they feel more pressure from the sex education than their peers.

Such information can often make parents feel discouraged and helpless, but it important to remember that there is still hope. While parents may feel powerless, they have much more influence over their children than they realize. Industries like SIECUS are threatened by involved parents. Cline says that SIECUS constantly reminded their educators that, “Parents are a barrier to service.” It is time for parents recognize and reclaim that they are their children’s sole authority, not comprehensive education. Some parents fear that they have no right to tell their children what to do, when they themselves have made mistakes in the past. Cline encourages parents that their past mistakes can help them want and do better for their children. Parents must courageously step into action and out of the shadows of passivity and fear. Our children deserve better than comprehensive education and they are worth fighting for.

As an organization, Worth It aims to fight back against the dangers of comprehensive sexual education. We are a student-led organization that desires to encourage students to make life-affirming decisions and realize their dignity and worth as human beings. Our sexual education curriculum is unique. We believe young people deserve age-appropriate and empowering sexual education, unlike the graphic and dehumanizing material that is used in comprehensive education


“Monica Cline - ‘Reclaim Parenthood: Restoring Family Values in the Hearts of Our Children.’” YouTube, YouTube, 6 Sept. 2019,

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