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Unmet Needs in Sex Education—What Adolescents Aim to Understand About Sexuality of the Other Sex


Bauer, Max; Hämmerli, Silvan; Leeners, Brigitte (2020). Unmet Needs in Sex Education—What Adolescents Aim to Understand About Sexuality of the Other Sex. Journal of Adolescent Health, 67(2):245-252.

Abstract

Purpose: Sex education programs need to modify their focus in light of changing societal norms and increasing exposure to pornography. This study investigates what adolescents want to know about the sexuality of the opposite sex. This will allow practitioners to adjust sex education curricula to the needs of adolescents, thereby supporting the establishment of healthy, respectful, and sexually fulfilling relationships.

Methods: Two thousand three hundred forty-three adolescents from the age of 11-19 years (123 classes) were asked to formulate questions addressed to the opposite sex as part of peer-led sex education classes, where girls and boys were divided into separate groups. Groups of 10-12 individuals each formulated about 11 questions, resulting in a total of 2,625 questions. The questions were categorized using content analysis.

Results: The largest portion of questions addressed sexual interaction (35.8%), with many questions further addressing sexual preference (e.g., oral sex, sex positions) and the logistics and qualitative aspects of first-time sexual intercourse. Adolescents were also interested in questions about the body (e.g., anatomy, body hair, 15.2%), relationships (e.g., love, dating, 13.9%), ideal characteristics of men/women (10.5%), masturbation (10.1%), and pornography (7.3%).

Conclusion: Adolescents show a high degree of interest in understanding the feelings and perceptions of the opposite sex. Acquiring this knowledge could be beneficial in building emotionally and physically fulfilling relationships. To increase adolescents' sexual and relationship competence, sexual education curricula should encompass pleasure and desire aspects of sexuality, initiating and managing relationships, societal ideals, and addressing pornography, in addition to sexual and reproductive health knowledge.

Abstract

Purpose: Sex education programs need to modify their focus in light of changing societal norms and increasing exposure to pornography. This study investigates what adolescents want to know about the sexuality of the opposite sex. This will allow practitioners to adjust sex education curricula to the needs of adolescents, thereby supporting the establishment of healthy, respectful, and sexually fulfilling relationships.

Methods: Two thousand three hundred forty-three adolescents from the age of 11-19 years (123 classes) were asked to formulate questions addressed to the opposite sex as part of peer-led sex education classes, where girls and boys were divided into separate groups. Groups of 10-12 individuals each formulated about 11 questions, resulting in a total of 2,625 questions. The questions were categorized using content analysis.

Results: The largest portion of questions addressed sexual interaction (35.8%), with many questions further addressing sexual preference (e.g., oral sex, sex positions) and the logistics and qualitative aspects of first-time sexual intercourse. Adolescents were also interested in questions about the body (e.g., anatomy, body hair, 15.2%), relationships (e.g., love, dating, 13.9%), ideal characteristics of men/women (10.5%), masturbation (10.1%), and pornography (7.3%).

Conclusion: Adolescents show a high degree of interest in understanding the feelings and perceptions of the opposite sex. Acquiring this knowledge could be beneficial in building emotionally and physically fulfilling relationships. To increase adolescents' sexual and relationship competence, sexual education curricula should encompass pleasure and desire aspects of sexuality, initiating and managing relationships, societal ideals, and addressing pornography, in addition to sexual and reproductive health knowledge.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Reproductive Endocrinology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health
Health Sciences > Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health, Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health, Psychiatry and Mental health
Language:English
Date:1 August 2020
Deposited On:11 Feb 2021 14:47
Last Modified:22 Feb 2021 15:05
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1054-139X
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2020.02.015
PubMed ID:32284295

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