Some people believe that talking to young people about sex encourages early sexual activity, but in fact good sex education is vital so young people can make informed choices. In Britain most teenage pregnancies occur in young people who have had a relatively poor education – including sex education. All west European countries have lower teen conception rates than the UK, probably because they have far better sex education than Britain does.
A 2009 Family Planning Association survey found that parents said that in order to bring down the teen pregnancy figures, under-18s should receive better sex and relationships education. However many parents don't create an environment where sex is discussed naturally and therefore teenagers find it embarrassing to talk to their parents. It seems likely that what parents believe they should do is not the same as what they actually do when it comes to talking about sex with their children.
Evidence shows that teenagers who begin having sexual intercourse at younger ages are more likely to express regret about their first sexual experience than are older teens [British Medical Journal, 2000].
Attitudes about sex and peer norms affect timing of first sex. Adolescents who personally feel that they should and will delay sex and whose peers also feel that they should avoid sex are more likely to do so [Carvajal et al., 1999; Santelli et al.,2004 - Oxford Journals, Health Education Research Vol. 19, No. 2, 185-197, April 1, 2004]. Conversely, teens who believe having sex will increase others’ respect for them or those who perceive that their peers are sexually active are more likely to have sex [Kinsman, Romer, Fustenberg, & Schwarz, 1998; Miller et al., 1997].
Teens whose friends have high educational aspirations, who avoid such risky behaviour as drinking or using drugs, and who perform well in school, are less likely to have sex at an early age than teens whose friends do not [Bearman & Brückner, 1999].
This course aims to facilitate educators in supporting young people’s learning about sex and relationships in an open, honest and explicit manner. The HIT resource: “Safer Sex: The Whole Story” will be used as a starting point.
The course will include activity ideas on:
Language and sex
Delaying early sex
Safety on the internet
Unhealthy and damaging relationships - what you would expect in a healthy relationship
Abuse in (exploitative/ violent/ coercive) relationships
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