What is sexuality education? Comprehensive sexuality education is learning about: What is the purpose of sexuality education? It aims to contribute to behaviour change, including reducing unprotected and unwanted sex, and reducing harmful behaviour, including sexual offences such as assault and abuse. What is good quality sexuality education? Research shows quality sexuality education programmes happen when: Does sexuality education work?
Sexuality education programmes increase knowledge about sexuality and the risk of pregnancy or sexually transmissible infections. Good quality comprehensive sexuality education also helps to protect young people. International research has found that many sexuality education programmes delay the first time young people have sex, reduce the number of sexual partners and increase condom or contraceptive use. Comprehensive programmes which also provide sexual and reproductive health, healthier behaviour and talking about attitudes and values result in better health outcomes.
What is an appropriate age to start sexuality education? Young people are maturing at younger ages than ever before and are bombarded with media messages about sexuality. If parents and educators are not talking about sexuality, young people will get their messages from the internet, music, videos and films.
Sexuality education helps them make sense of messages in the media and gives them skills to separate fact from fiction. It is important for children to feel comfortable asking questions and building on their understanding as they mature. This is helped by having normal conversations about bodies, good and bad feelings, families and relationships and learning communication skills. Who should teach sexuality education?
It is more effective when sexuality education is talked about at home and at school. Parents or carers are the first teachers for their children. They are role models for relationship behaviours, gender roles and expectations. Not all parents or carers are comfortable talking about sexuality and relationships and comprehensive sexuality education at school can complement this education at home.
Young people may develop different values from their parents or carers which can be challenging to accept. However, research shows that parents or carers who talk with their young people about their dreams and hopes for them are protecting them.
What questions do young people ask during sexuality education sessions? Younger students want to know about: Girls tend to ask more relationship and emotions-related questions and boys focus a little more on the body and sexual activities.
Older students want to know: Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.