An executive director at a Planned Parenthood’s sex education arm claimed that children are born “sexual” while simultaneously advocating for comprehensive sex education from kindergarten through 12th grade and porn literacy for certain ages, Fox News Digital found.
Bill Taverner, who has advocated for sexuality education at U.S. congressional briefings, is the executive director of Planned Parenthood’s Center for Sex Education located in New Jersey. The Center provides training materials nationally and hosts the largest conference for sex educators in the U.S.
In 2015, he said, “[We have] in our society, an assumption of asexuality of people with intellectual disabilities. It’s a myth that’s perpetuated, and really we are all sexual beings from birth until death.”
Taverner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Planned Parenthood also did not immediately provide a response to a request for comment on whether Taverner’s statement on “sexual beings” was consistent with the organization’s viewpoint. However, Fox News Digital found a similar statement on a Planned Parenthood sex education document.
Planned Parenthood said in a guide entitled the “Fundamentals of Teaching Sexuality” that “sexuality is a part of life through all the ages and stages. Babies, elders, and everyone in between can experience sexuality.”
Around the year 2012, Taverner said children of a certain age should be taught about pornography in sex education, a position he has maintained up until at least February 2021.
Taverner appeared to say during the 2012 interview that some of “erotica” was “useful.”
He said, “I think that there’s this yearning for information that young people have that… hasn’t changed. [The] delivery of how we get information is quite different. I think that the internet is a major influence on how people learn about sexuality. There’s access to erotica, pornography. That was very different for young people 30 years ago. It’s certainly not as accessible, certainly not as instantaneous. So there’s a lot of information that is useful.”
The interviewer interrupted Taverner and said, “some of it is wrong.”
“Some of it is wrong, a lot of it is wrong,” Taverner said. “But there’s good stuff out there as well.”
Taverner did not clarify what he meant when Fox News Digital inquired, however, he said in the 2021 interview that sex educators never wanted pornography to be the primary source of sex education, and that instruction needs to adapt to modern times.
He further argues that teaching about pornography in classrooms is similar to instructing children on how to use a condom.
“There’s a resistance to… if we talk about porn, [some think] is it going to make people want to watch it? Which is the same faulty kind of premise as if we teach about condoms, it’s going to make people want to have sex with condoms or maybe that’s not a bad thing,” the sex educator continued.
He added that porn literacy would help students clarify their values on the topic and will meet “people where they are.”
“Getting back to meeting people where they are, if this is what they’re doing with their cell phones and tablets and their laptops, then we need to shift our education and stop doing the banana on a condom and think that, you know, we’ve done our thing. So we need to present opportunities for young people to think about…, for example, their values. You know, let’s do an opinion activity. Let’s do the ethics of porn. And that’s not to say that there’s a right answer .”
Taverner has said in the past that some parts of comprehensive sexuality education should begin in kindergarten.
“Sexuality education is not isolated to a particular point in a person’s life, it’s a continuous process. Young children are learning about sexuality from the attitudes their parents display… When we think of K-12 education… we may be talking about what makes a family, we may be talking about disease prevention… All of that sets the foundation for a basic understanding that is useful for further conversations when we’re talking about condoms… [and] pregnancy conversations,” he said.
“Age-appropriate sex education is so important,” he said. “And we have to let our experts guide us.”