Abstinence-Only Center Stage:
A Closer look at Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Motivational Speakers
The expansion of federal abstinence-only-until-marriage funding over the past decade helped to create an entire abstinence industry which produced not only curricula, videos, and books, but promotional materials like tee-shirts, underwear, and candy—all with the abstinence-until-marriage message. One of the more interesting components of the abstinence industry, however, is the ever-expanding circuit of motivational speakers who make a living traveling to schools, churches, and community-based organizations to provide presentations.
Addressing auditoriums packed with entire student bodies in presentations that resemble both sermons and stand-up comedy performances, these speakers—many of whom have a religious background—are able to spew fear, misinformation, and opinions that go unchallenged. Moreover, because such presentations are often subject to the approval of only one teacher or principal (rather than the more rigorous approval process required to bring in a week-long program or change a curriculum), there is little oversight and parents are often unaware of the presentation until after the fact.
As part of our Community Advocacy Project, SIECUS is frequently contacted by parents who are outraged by the messages that were presented to their teens. We have prepared this fact sheet to help parents and educators recognize the potential harm of such presentations and become familiar with some of the industry’s leading speakers.
Speaker: Keith Deltano
Location: Julian, North Carolina
Background and Resources
According to Keith Deltano’s bio he has been a military police officer, a sixth grade public school teacher, a youth leader, and a private counselor. These days, however, he describes himself as an educational comedian who is available to provide presentations to schools, church groups, and other audiences. Mr. Deltano’s most popular presentation is titled “The New Sexual Revolution or Abstinence is Cool,” but he presents on other topics including bullying, racism, and drug and alcohol use as well. Deltano offers both faith-based and secular versions of his presentations.
In addition to his presentations to students, Deltano provides parent/guardian workshops which center around his book, Fighting Back which is available for sale on his websites. Both websites (the secular and the faith-based) also offer clips of Deltano’s performances and provide ways in which visitors can book a presentation.
Using what he describes as an “in your face style,” Deltano comes across like a cross between a stand-up comic and a drill sergeant. Though his casual style is meant to build trust with teens, Deltano frequently singles out member of the audience, offers assumptions about their sexual behavior, and then berates them for disagreeing with him. The highlight of Deltano’s performance includes an activity designed to illustrate the ineffectiveness of condoms against HIV in which he dangles a cinderblock over the genitals of an unsuspecting male student and yells about the exaggerated failure rate of condoms; “Is 10 percent good enough for you?!?! Is it good enough?!?!”
Keith Deltano is well connected in the abstinence-only-until marriage circuit. His work is often highlighted on the Abstinence Clearinghouse website, and he has won awards from the same organization for his skills in parent outreach. Mr. Deltano is named as a featured speaker on numerous abstinence-until-marriage websites like www.missthemess.com and his fees, travel, and expenses are often covered by local crisis pregnancy centers. Highlighting his connection to the national abstinence-only-until-marriage speaking network, his faith-based material can be purchased from the website of another speaker at www.shoppamstenzel.com.
Name: Jason Evert
Location: Spring Valley, California
Background and Resources
As the CEO of The Pure Love Club (www.chastity.com, www.pureloveclub.net), Jason Evert is a nationally recognized member of the abstinence-only-until-marriage industry. Evert, who holds two degrees in Theology, tours the country extolling the benefits of chastity at religious events, catholic schools, and public middle and high schools. Jason and his wife Crystalina are “full-time apologists with Catholic Answers, the nation's largest lay-run apostolate for apologetics and evangelization.” Evert is the author of numerous books, including, If You Really Loved Me: 100 Questions on Dating, Relationships and Sexual Purity; Pure Love, Teen Relationships and Sexual Pressure; Theology of the Body for Teens (book & DVD), and Purity 365: Daily Reflections on True Love. Evert offers secular versions of his materials and presentation.
Though his message is often religious, Evert’s style is more like a stand-up comic than a preacher. In his presentation he distinguishes abstinence from chastity, which he believes is the only way to be a respectable, happy, sexually fulfilled, and moral person. His presentations rely on fear and perpetuate gender stereotypes.
· “A culture of immodest women will necessarily be a culture of uncommitted men”
· “To be pure, it is necessary that your heart be directed to God. In his eyes, the repentant prostitute is purer than the lustful virgin.”
· “Sexuality is good, something beautiful, that is like a fire…it’s a good gift and it belongs in the fireplace…take it out of the fireplace and it soon becomes destructive.”
· “Sexuality is meant to be a gift between a husband and wife for the purpose of babies and bonding.”
Mr. Evert has been a part of the national network of abstinence speakers for approximately 10 years. Both he and his wife Crystalina sit on the board of The National Abstinence Clearinghouse. Mr. Evert is a featured speaker on many faith-based websites including www.catholic.com, www.respectlifeeducation.com, and www.lifeandchastity.com. Jason and Crystalina Evert were awarded the “2003 Impact Award by the National Abstinence Clearinghouse in recognition of their success with teens in America.”
Speaker: Justin Lookadoo
Location: McKinney, Texas
Background and Resources
A former crime prevention specialist, Mr. Lookadoo, has been on the speaking circuit since 1989, and is a sought after speaker for religious organizations, Christian retreats, and high school assemblies. Lookadoo has also authored a number of books including, Dateable: Are you? Are they?; The Dateable Rules; The Dirt on Sex; The Dirt on Drugs; The Dirt on Breaking Up, and The Buzz on Prom Dates, Superheroes and the Universe at Large. Some of his materials have religious themes such as his book 97 Devotions: Learn to See God in Everything and his workbook The Hardest 30 Days of Your Life, which “walks with teens through the experience of radical faith.” His website www.rudateable.com, offers quizzes and advice to girls and boys about how to shape themselves into the kind of person who is attractive to the opposite sex.
The self dubbed “speaker for the A.D.D. generation,” Mr. Lookadoo appears in spiky blond hair and jeans and uses a style typical to motivational speakers; somewhere between stand-up comic and television psychiatrist. His presentation for high school, which is based on his R.U. Dateable books and website, is rife with value judgments and gender stereotypes.  In the clip on his website, Lookadoo tells girls in his audience that they are “stupid” if they think that a “feminist” came up with the idea that it was okay for girls to ask guys out. Men, he says, have been trying to get girls to do it for years. He warns women, however, that once they do it they’ve given away the power because now “we don’t have to worry about you and your friends laughing at us, we’re laughing at you.”
In the past 12 years, Justin Lookadoo has become a prominent figure in the abstinence-only-until-marriage circuit. He is a featured speaker on www.justsayyes.org, a web-based resource for organizations looking to bring abstinence-only-until-marriage speakers to their community. He has co-authored books with Haley Morgan, another young abstinence-only-until-marriage speaker. Together they co-founded Hungry Planet, “a think tank intent on feeding the world’s appetite for truth through authors and speakers taking on biblical issues with a distinctly modern voice.” In addition, Mr. Lookadoo is often booked to appear at faith-based events with other abstinence-only-until-marriage speakers such as Pam Stenzel.
Speaker: Mike Long
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Background and Resources
Long describes himself as “one of America’s Abstinence Education pioneers” and claims that since 1985 he has “traveled to 46 states, trained over 50,000 educators, and spoken to over 1 million teenagers.” Long’s promotional materials also say that “he has been a national leader in the abstinence education movement politically” and is frequently sought out by the media. His website suggests: “He is an ideal speaker for parent conferences, Crisis Pregnancy Center banquets, teen assemblies, and youth rallies. If it’s a secular abstinence program from a health perspective you need (Title V) in your public school or home school, Mike Long will put you on the right track. If it’s a faith based youth speaker for your parochial school or church youth group, Mike is well prepared to answer the call!”
Long offers a three-day visit to an area during which he will conduct in-service trainings for teachers, school assemblies for young people, and a community awareness program after which “School board members, administrators, clergy, community leaders, and concerned parents are always convinced that this directive educational strategy is exactly what needs to be taught to teens.” His website describes these three-day visits as “one of the most productive uses of the Title V Abstinence Education Grants and Drug/Alcohol Grants.”
Long produces a video/book series, Everybody is NOT Doing It, which his website touts is “currently being used in 5,000 school systems and youth organizations nationwide.”
Long’s presentation seems outdated and uses no technology. His presentation style falls somewhere between that of an infomercial spokesperson and a televangelist. While he seems anxious to be thought of as a friend who has listened to thousands of teens and understands them, he addresses his audience as “teenager” and speaks in a condescending tone. And, despite the fact that he spends a great deal of time discussing the influence of the media, he includes no up-to-date cultural references and uses terms like “petting” and situations like hanging out at a car wash that seem unlikely to appeal to today’s teens.
· “Those who maintain their ‘purity’ for their future spouse have fewer negative habits to unlearn, are less likely to associate sex with guilt, fear, and shame, and don’t ever have to worry about sexual problems.”
· “Over one million teenagers (ages 15-18) were infected last year with this dangerous and potentially fatal disease [syphilis], which can eventually drive you insane” [In truth; in 1996—the year before the videotape was released—there were a total of 11,387 cases of syphilis in the United States. Moreover, syphilis is a curable disease that since the advent of modern medicine no longer leads to insanity and death.]
· “Would you fly on an airline if you knew that 16 of 100 planes they send up will crash within a year?” [This false analogy suggests that unintended pregnancies were caused by a failure of the condom and not the user. In truth method failure of the male condom occurs less than 2% of the time.]
His long career in the abstinence-only-until-marriage field has placed Mike Long in a position of pre-eminence in the movement. The photos in the Pregnancy Resource Center area of his Speak page are like a “family album” for the abstinence-only-until-marriage set, offering pictures of Long with everyone from Lakita Garth, Scott Phelps, and Pam Stenzel (all prominent abstinence-only-until-marriage speakers), to Bill O’Reilly and James Dobson. The page also highlights his close connection with the National Abstinence Clearinghouse, as well as shows him speaking at the Eagle Forum National Conference.
Speaker: David Mahan
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Background and Resources
CEO of Frontline Youth Communications, David Mahan has been working the abstinence-only-until-marriage speaking circuit for the past 14 years. Frontline provides assemblies and key note addresses for schools, conferences, churches, camps, concerts, and incarcerated youth. It also provides peer leadership development, parent presentations, and professional development workshops, as well as materials such as posters, music, tee-shirts, and stickers that it refers to as “message reinforcers.” A second website, www.peerpositive.com serves to support those teens who have gone through Frontline’s leadership development program. According to the organization, “David has to his advantage the combination of being intelligent and articulate, yet young and attractive enough to be able to connect with his typically superficial teen audience,” [emphasis added].
Mahan, a young African-American man tailors his presentation to an urban black audience. His style is more down-to-earth and genuine than other abstinence-only-until-marriage speakers and, therefore, more likely to resonate with his audience. Nonetheless, his presentation includes messages of fear and shame and numerous gender stereotypes.
As a board member of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse, David Mahan is a prominent member of the abstinence-only-until-marriage industry. He is a sought after speaker, featured on such websites as www.takebackyourschools.com and www.pureschools.com. Mahan’s website boasts that he has worked with a variety of organizations, public schools, and governmental departments including “the State of Georgia, Project Reality, FCCLA [Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America], Maryland Department of Health, Youth 2 Youth International, Nigerian Abstinence Education Network, and the Ohio Department of Youth Services.”
Speaker: Pam Stenzel
Location: Osakis, Minnesota
Websites: www.pamstenzel.com, www.shoppamstenzel.com, http://www.enlightencom.com, http://assetlearning.com/pamstenzel.htm
Background and Resources
Pam Stenzel is a graduate of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. She began her career as an abstinence spokesperson after serving as the director of a crisis pregnancy center. (Crisis pregnancy centers typically advertise as providing medical services and then use anti-abortion propaganda, misinformation, and fear and shame tactics to dissuade women facing unintended pregnancy from exercising their right to choose.) One of the earliest abstinence-only-until-marriage speakers-for-hire (she’s been on the circuit since 1993), Stenzel has explained that she became interested in promoting abstinence after counseling countless young women who were unaware of the consequences of premarital sex. “Drawing from her personal story, as well as her visits with teens around the world, Pam talks about the consequences—both physical and emotional—of sex outside of marriage.”
Stenzel offers prepackaged presentations, such as one entitled “Sex Still Has a Price Tag,” to schools, churches, and community-based organizations across the country. She provides both faith-based and secular versions of her presentations. In addition, she sells videotaped presentations for schools that can’t bring her in to speak in person. One of Stenzel’s numerous websites, www.shoppamstenzel.com, offers an extensive array of abstinence-only-until-marriage material for sale, including DVDs, Videos, CDs, books, brochures, audiocassettes, and written curricula.
Stenzel comes across as somewhere between a stand-up comic and a televangelist. She uses a preacher’s cadence and often yells at her audience in attempts to emphasize her points. And, though she makes many attempts to tell students she is their friend, she is often dismissive toward young people. Throughout her presentation, Stenzel lowers her voice to a meek whine in a series of unflattering parodies of former clients and students whom she refers to as “little girls.”
· “If you have sex outside of one permanent monogamous—and monogamy does not mean one at a time—that means one partner who has only been with you—if you have sex outside of that context, you will pay.”
· “And then there is HIV. We won’t spend time on it. It’s the virus that causes AIDS. It’s deadly. You don’t want it…”
· “Ladies, you contract Chlamydia one time in your life, cure it or not, and there is about a 25 percent chance that you will be sterile for the rest of your life.” [In truth: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approximately 40 percent of cases of untreated Chlamydia lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, and approximately 10 percent of acute case of PID (not all cases become acute) lead to infertility.]
As one of the pioneers of the speaking circuit, Stenzel is well-connected to the larger abstinence industry. The “Our Friends” page on her website reads like a Who’s Who of organizations that promote abstinence-only-until marriage curricula. These “friends” include The Medical Institute for Sexual Health, Focus on the Family, The Silver Ring Thing, Human Life Alliance, The Heritage Foundation, Virtuous Reality Ministries, and a number of faith based abstinence-only-until marriage speakers, including David Hajduk (member of the Angelic Warfare Confraternity), and Teresa Tomeo (a radical catholic anti-abortion activist). Stenzel’s other company Enlighten Communications Inc., www.enlightencom.com, serves as a booking agent and promotional tool for many other prominent abstinence-only-until-marriage speakers, including Scott Phelps and Dr. John Young (Executive Producer of the video “This Ain’t a Dress Rehearsal”).
 The New Sexual Revolution/Abstinence is Cool, Keith Deltano (2007) Presentation attended by SIECUS. Loudon County, Virginia, February 2007.
 Calaveras Door of Hope Ministries Newsletter, Calaveras Door of Hope (Nov/Dec 2007), accessed 17 September 2009, <http://www.calaverasdoorofhope.org/DoHNewsletter1207.pdf>.
 Jason Evert, If You Really Loved Me: 100 Questions on Dating, Relationships and Sexual Purity (California: Catholic Answers), 3
 Chastity Q&A: What’s Wrong With Masturbation?, Jason Evert (2009), accessed 5 August 2009, <http://www.chastity.com/chastity/index.php?id=7&entryid=49b>
 Justin Lookadoo, The Dirt on Sex, (Michigan: Revell, 2004), p. 12.
 Mike Long, Teenagers: Everyone Is NOT Doing It (book), p.47.
 Everyone is Not Doing It - DVD, Mike Long (2007).
 Swat The Fly Game: Oral Syphilis E-card, Frontline (2009), accessed 4 August 2009,
 Our Speakers: David Mahan, Take Back Your Schools.com (2009), accessed 4 August 2009,