strategy

Teaching about sexuality

Synonyms:
Providing reproductive health education
Educating on the facts of life
Improving sex education
Description:
Provision of sex education as a means of understanding sexuality and preparing youth for responsible parenthood in the future. Increasing the access of young people to appropriate information, education and services in addressing their reproductive and sexual needs. Sexual education helps people to understand their bodies, encourages use of contraception, and reduces sexual exploitation of young women, unintended pregnancies, abortions, AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. Sex education should be linked with health and family planning, discussing full range of family planning options, not just abstinence.
Implementation:
Sexual education should be taught in all primary schools before children reach puberty (after is too late for some, and not all adolescents go to secondary school). It should include physiology, sexuality, emotional involvement, masturbation, assertiveness, sexually transmitted diseases, safe sex, contraception and child spacing. Teachers, health workers and community workers should be trained in adolescent sexuality and interpersonal skills. Sex education should involve the whole community, including parent, grandparents, religious and community leaders, and use all the media to inform an educate (pop songs, television soap operas, radio and comics).

In Sri Lanka, Buddhist priests and health workers held workshops on reproductive health education for over 11,000 young people living in urban slums and rural areas. In Sierra Leone, young leaders are training out-of-school rural youth about the dangers of female genital mutilation and the benefits of family planning. In Columbia, peer educators held workshops, using their own booklets, for military recruits and women prisoners as well as urban and rural youth. In the Dominican Republic, the family planning association worked with government, parents, teachers and young people to develop a model sex education programme which has now become part of the official school curriculum.

In Uganda, [Marriage Encounter] in cooperation with Makerere College and the Austrian Institute for Family Research is piloting in 1997 a programme of sex education with both information and life education aims.

Claim:
Modern adolescents everywhere want information, education and services relating to their sexual lives, not fear and ignorance. There is no evidence that sexual education encourages sexual activity or reduces the choice of abstinence from sex. Deliberate diversion of young peoples attention into "healthy and appropriate" activities does not help adolescents understand their sexuality. They merely reinforce the idea that sex is uncontrollable and not to be discussed. A tragic expression of the failure to support young people in dealing with their sexuality is the high incidence of teenage pregnancies and teenage abortions.
Counter Claim:
Sex education is a vehicle to spread an amoralism that is destructive of the family and of society. It is one of the most savagely damaging lobbies a society has ever had to confront.
Subjects:
Life
Reproductive system
Sex-related questions
Experimental
Health
Education
Educators
Reform
Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies