Young people’s experiences of sexuality education in the UK: a sex-positive critique.

Harle, E.C. ORCID: 0000-0003-4067-3608 (2022). Young people’s experiences of sexuality education in the UK: a sex-positive critique. University of Birmingham. M.Res.

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The World Health Organisation argues that sexuality education should be ‘holistic’, and comprehensively consider the physical, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality (World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe, 2016). This approach empowers young people to make their own choices, to protect their sexual health and their mental wellbeing. However, in the UK, sexuality education rarely fully explores the physical aspects of sexuality and mostly ignores the social and emotional aspects, and so does not meet the wellbeing needs of young people (Department for Education, 2019). Moreover, continued sex-negativity and restrictive sexual norms, result in the belief that sexuality can endanger young people, or destroy their presumed “innocence” (Foucault, 1998; Weeks, 1995; Rubin, 2007; Bennion, 1991; Brickman and Fitts Willoughby, 2017). Therefore, the resultant controversy surrounding sexuality education, acts as a barrier to more comprehensive and sex-positive education, which might better meet the needs of young people (McGinn, 2016; Alldred and David 2007; Hirst 2012). This thesis utilises thematic analysis to analyse responses to a survey distributed online to 16–18-year-olds in the UK, regarding their sexuality education experiences, and to what extent they felt like their needs were met. The young people reported that teaching methods were largely unsatisfactory, sex-negative, heteronormative, and perpetuated gender norms.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Res.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Res.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Modern Languages
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)


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