Sex, Sexuality and Sexual Health Education

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Sex Education vs Sexuality Education vs Sexual Health Education
Sex Education vs Sexuality Education vs Sexual Health Education. Image credit: lindynews.org

 

Sex, Sexuality and Sexual Health Education

 

You may have watched Sex Education Seasons 1, 2, and 3 films but haven’t read Sex Education Seasons 1, 2, and 3 in texts.

In this blog post – Sex Education Season 1 in Text, we shall define sex education, sexuality education, and sexual health education and state the difference between the three concepts in Sexual and Reproductive Health Education in writing. We shall also in this season 1 in the text; discuss some introductory aspects of sex education.

In this Sex Education Season 1 in Text blog post, you will find:

 

Sex Education vs Sexuality Education vs Sexual Health Education: What is the difference?

Learning Areas of Sexuality education

Scope of sex education

Necessary information relating to a student’s comprehensive sexual health education

Effective comprehensive sexual health education

Factors that influence sexual health (healthy sexuality)

When should sex education be given? At what age should children have sexual health education?

Who should give sex education?

How should I become a sex educator?

Importance of sex education to children, adolescents, and youths

 

Sex Education vs Sexuality Education vs Sexual Health Education: What is the difference?

Sexual Health Education

Sexual Health Education. Image credit: clipartkey.com

What is sex education?

Sex education is an umbrella name used to describe human sexuality, including sex development and sexual and reproductive health education. Sexual development is regarded as a normal natural part of human development. Sex education is education related to structural, functional, and behavioral characteristics that differentiate sexuality in males and females.

Quality sex education includes giving information about sex, sexuality, relationships, contraception and condoms, and how to protect one’s future.  Sex education in terms of protecting the future of young adults and school students should be inculcated into evidence- and knowledge-based strategies for the prevention of unintended pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

 

What is sexuality education?

Sexuality education is defined as teaching about human sexuality, including emotional intimate relationships, human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), sexual activity, sexual orientation, gender identity, abstinence, contraception, and reproductive rights and responsibilities.

Sexuality education is the education of the sexual quality or state or activity; an expression of sexual desire or interest and the condition of accepting and having sex by humans (males and females).

All forms of sexuality education can be seen as a reflection of a culture’s, community’s, or family’s values and belief systems vis-à-vis gender and sexual norms, and the appropriate sexuality role in the lives of the people especially the youths.

From the foregoing, the definitions of sexuality education appear contextually similar in sexual-health education to that of sex education even though ‘’Sexuality education’’ is generally chosen by health professionals and educators as a more comprehensive description of the range of topics covered in sex educational programs whereas “sex education,” however, is still often used as an equivalent term by parents, students and the public. So, in this post; we shall use sex education and sexuality education interchangeably.

 

What is sexual health (healthy sexuality) education?

Sexual health education is the education on body changes associated with sexual development and the ability of the youths to communicate and make informed decisions regarding sex and their sexuality, and intimate relationships for sustainable healthy living. Sexual health education can also be referred to as healthy sexuality education.

Sexual health education is informed by the fact that a youth’s relationships, sexuality, and sexual behaviours and activities have either a positive or negative impact on his health and welfare.

Every society owes its youths a comprehensive sexual health education that gives them the tools they need to make social and healthy decisions relating to sexuality through their grade levels of education in schools.

 

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Learning Areas of Sexuality education

Sexuality education can be disseminated through the 3 learning areas:

  1. Cognitive (information and education)
  2. Affective (feelings, values, and attitudes), and
  3. Behavioral via physical aspects and skills like communication, decision-making.

 

Scope of sex education

  1. Information and education relating to anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry of the sexual response system (that is, anatomy and the physiology of biological sex and reproduction). Anatomy, physiology, biological sex, and reproduction constitute the dimensions of healthy sexuality.
  2. Information and education about supporting and protecting sexual development (for healthy sexual development)
  3. Gender identity (make-up, uniqueness, and characteristics of males and females); sex orientation (determines sexual position and attractiveness to the opposite sex), body image (of self-perception of the attractiveness of own body to the opposite sex); gender roles (roles of males and females in sexual activity and reproduction) and personality (nature, character, and behaviours of males and females).
  4. Human sexuality education. Human sexuality encompasses the individual’s sexual knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, values, norms, and behaviours.
  5. Thoughts, emotions, feelings, and relationships.

 

Necessary information relating to a student’s comprehensive sexual health education

Comprehensive sexuality education

Comprehensive sexuality education. Photo credit: coe.int

 

The necessary information relating to a student’s comprehensive sexual health education include:

– Originality and cultural background

– Gender identity and sexual orientation

– Body changes in sexual development

– Abstinence and the use of contraception and condoms during sex.

 – Puberty and reproduction

– Overcoming sexual violence

– Interpersonal relationships and intimacy

– Being personally responsible for their health and overall well-being.

 

Effective comprehensive sexual health education

Can sexual health education be effective and result-driven? Comprehensive sexual health education is effective if it communicates detailed, correct, complete, and developmentally-appropriate information on human sexuality, including sexual risk-reduction strategies the youths, need to imbibe to protect their health and welfare, including observing certain cultural and religious beliefs that limit sexuality, engaging in age-appropriate sex, using condoms or contraception.

But, when a comprehensive sexual health education and risk reduction program is an effective public health strategy, it reduces the rate of adolescent pregnancy, HIV, and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

 

Factors that influence sexual health (healthy sexuality)

There are a good number of factors that influence sexual health. Factors that influence sexual health and determine its goodness and quality include:

  1. Disabilities, chronic health conditions, and other special needs
  2. Healthy sexuality is influenced by ethnic, racial, cultural, personal, religious, and moral concerns. Healthy sexuality is also influenced by interpersonal relationships.
  3. Value for one’s body and personal health affects sexual health.
  4. Sexual health is affected by affection, love, and intimacy in ways consistent with one’s own values, beliefs, sexual preferences, and abilities.

 

When should sex education be given? At what age should children have sexual health education?

When should a child be given sex education? A child should be given sex education whenever he or she is curious about sex. So, parents, teachers and health educators, and healthcare experts should instill correct concepts of healthy sexuality at homes, in schools, and in hospitals as early as possible to avoid being misled by the media.

A child should be given age-appropriate sex education once he or she starts to experience different physiological and psychological changes in different stages of development, and suitable c counseling and guidance continued

 

Who should give sex education?

Who should give sex education? Sex education can be given by trained student peers, health educators, and teachers in school. Parents can give their children sex education at homes and healthcare experts implement sexuality education in hospitals during patient visits

 

How should I become a sex educator?

Peers, parents and legal guardians, teachers, and health care providers can serve as sex educators in various degrees and capacities.

One trend in quality sex education for early pregnancy prevention in the US that has yielded good results has been peer-based programs in schools. These curricula (school-based sexuality education curricula) are jointly designed and taught by credible, older-aged peers (as peer leaders) in collaboration with the teacher.

You can become a school-or community-based peer sex educator if you are trained with policy standard sexuality education curricula in that regard.

There are sexual health education programs that allow teachers and health caregivers or experts to integrate parents into the curriculum content on a regular basis, training them on healthy sexuality so that they can become home sex educators. Parents can then systematically and comprehensively educate their children on sexuality at home. Canada, the UK, and the US, which emphasize the delay of first sexual intercourse as a major sex education curricular theme, each emphasize the inclusion of parents in the schools’ sexuality education curriculum.

There are many skills for effective sex educators need to master in order to teach sexuality education.

Specific skill areas that should be addressed in family or home sexuality education includes delivering comprehensive messages ( foster discussion on a range of topics such as decision making, menstruation, reproduction, physical and sexual development, the age when one should assess whether or not to become sexually active, birth control methods, choosing partners, masturbation, and STD/HIV prevention strategies, among others), parental communication skill and sensitivity in discussing sexuality, and the timing of communication.

Comprehensive messages foster discussion on a range of topics such as decision making, menstruation, reproduction, physical and sexual development, the age when one should assess whether or not to become sexually active, birth control methods, choosing partners, masturbation, and STD/HIV prevention strategies (Whitaker et al. 1998). Parental communication ability and sensitivity to difficult topics are consistently emphasized in successful school-based programs.

School-based peers and teachers get acquainted with skills on parental communication ability and sensitivity to difficult topics, and more, to ensure having successful school-based sexuality education programs.

Healthcare experts like pediatricians, primary care clinicians, and nurses are in an excellent position to provide and support sex education to all children, adolescents, and young adults as part of preventive health care. They can give more effective and informative sexuality education routinely and openly during children and adolescents, and youths’ hospital visit.

Pediatricians and other primary care clinicians particularly can explore the expectations of parents for their child’s sexual development while providing general, factual information and education about sexuality and can monitor adolescents’ use of guidance and resources offered over time.

These skills are outlined in the Professional Learning Standards for Sex Education (PLSSE).

 

Importance of sex education to children, adolescents, and youths

There are so many benefits associated with sex education to children and its importance to adolescents and youths:

 1. Sex education aims at supporting and protecting sexual development.

2. Sexuality education does not encourage children, adolescents, and youths to have untimely sexual intercourse.

3. It equips and empowers children, adolescents, and young adults with information, skills, and positive values to understand and enjoy good sexual health.

4. Another importance of sex education is for children, adolescents, and youths to have safe and fulfilling relationships and take responsibility not only for their own sexual health and welfare but also for others.

5. One of the benefits of sexuality education is to develop and strengthen the ability of children, adolescents, and young adults to make conscious, satisfying, healthy, and respectful choices regarding intimacy, relationships, sexual, emotional, and physical health.

 

 

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