About Us

SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change

SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change has served as a leading national voice for sex education since 1964, asserting that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human, one worthy of dignity and respect. Through advocacy, policy and coalition building, SIECUS advances sex education as a vehicle for social change—where all people receive sex education, are affirmed in their identities, and have power to make decisions about their own health, pleasure, and wholeness.

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History

SIECUS was founded in 1964 by Dr. Mary S. Calderone.  A Medical Director at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Dr. Calderone became concerned about the lack of accurate information about sexuality available for both young people and adults. So at the age of 60, determined to live in a world in which sexuality was viewed as a natural and healthy part of life, Dr. Calderone founded SIECUS with Wallace Fulton, Reverend William Genne, Lester Kirkendall, Dr. Harold Lief, and Clark Vincent. 

In the decades that followed, SIECUS became a recognized leader in the field of sexuality and sex education, publishing numerous books, journals, and resources for professionals, parents, and the public. SIECUS’ publication, Guidelines for Comprehensive Education: Kindergarten – 12th Grade, was hailed as a major breakthrough for sex education and continues to be a sought after resource. With the discovery of HIV, SIECUS became one of the first national organizations to respond to the crisis, co-sponsoring a ground-breaking conference with the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in 1984 and publishing one of the first educational books about HIV/AIDS: How to Talk to your Children About AIDS. Then, in the 1990s, the New York City-based SIECUS began to expand its work related to sex education policy and advocacy efforts and opened a public policy office in Washington, DC.

In the early 2000s, SIECUS further refocused its efforts to prioritize advancing progressive sex education policy across the country, working to affect change at federal, state, and local levels. In 2019, as SIECUS marked its 55th year in operation, the organization officially renamed to “SIECUS,” dropping its former spelled out title and adding the tagline: Sex Ed for Social Change. 

While maintaining the belief that sex education is necessary for providing young people with the information they need to ensure their own lifelong sexual health and well-being, SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change began asserting that it can also do more than that; sex education has the power to spark large-scale social change. SIECUS is not a single-issue organization because sex ed, as SIECUS envisions it, connects and addresses a variety of social issues. Sex ed sits at the nexus of many social justice movements—from LGBTQ rights and reproductive justice to the #MeToo movement and urgent conversations around consent and healthy relationships.

Today, SIECUS continues to advocate for the rights of all people to access and enjoy accurate and comprehensive sexuality information, education, and related health services. In doing so, SIECUS honors its founding mission while, simultaneously, working to advance a vision of sex education to meet the needs of the future.

Mission, Vision, Values

Mission

SIECUS advances sex education through advocacy, policy and coalition building.

Vision

SIECUS envisions an equitable nation where all people receive sex education, are affirmed in their identities, and have power to make decisions about their own health, pleasure, and wholeness.

Values

SIECUS recognizes that good sexual and reproductive health is a human right.

SIECUS advances comprehensive sexuality education as a means of building a foundation for a long-term culture shift that will positively impact all levels of society, particularly issues of gender and racial equity, sexuality, sexual and reproductive health, consent, personal safety, and autonomy.

SIECUS commits to working to dismantle the systems of power and oppression which perpetuate disparate sexual and reproductive health outcomes and incubate stigma and shame around sex and sexuality across the intersections of age, race, size, gender, gender identity and expression, class, sexual orientation, and ability.

SIECUS applies an intersectional lens to ensure people’s real lived experiences inform our policy, education, and strategic communications work.

Core Areas of Work

Policy and Advocacy

  • Educate advocates and policymakers about providing rights-based sexuality information and education at the federal, state, and local levels.
  • Provide technical assistance to state and local partners for education, advocacy, and/or lobbying purposes.
  • Lead, strengthen, and develop partnerships with other organizations, coalitions, and initiatives to advance policies that promote positive sexual and reproductive health outcomes across the lifespan
  • Publish reports, data, and analyses to inform policy and advocacy work in sexuality, sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Education and Resource Development

  • Enhance educator, advocate, parent, youth, clinician, partner, and public understanding of the current state of sexuality education in the United States and opportunities for improvement in both policy and practice.
  • Publish toolkits and reports to inform and educate various constituencies on comprehensive sexuality education and quality sexual and reproductive health services.
  • Partner with national, state, and local organizations to promote standards elevating the provision of quality sexuality education.
  • Provide training and technical assistance to stakeholders on how to use resources to improve sexuality education implementation, evaluation, and policy development.

Strategic Communications

  • Shape cultural and societal narratives by applying a multi-faceted approach in all communications with a strong organizational website, social media presence, relevant opinion pieces, and bold position statements.
  • Educate and inform the broader public through media appearances, speaking engagements, and other high visibility activities.
  • Expand our communication channels with partners using both traditional and social media to educate, inform, and mobilize communities.

Download SIECUS’ Strategic Framework (Updated in April 2018)

Download SIECUS’ full list of Position Statements.

Staff & Board

Meet the team behind SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change!

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