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Chapter 19

Human Sexuality ch.19.docx

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Western University
Psychology 2075

Sexuality Education Human sexuality - chapter 19  Sexuality education: the lifelong process of acquiring information about sexual behaviour and forming attitudes, beliefs and values and identity, relationships and intimacy Purposes of sexuality Education  The goal of sexuality education is to promote healthy sexuality  The sex information and education council of Canada is active in promoting high quality sex education in Canada and coordinated in the development of the Canadian guidelines for sexual health education  According to their guidelines, sexuality education should help people both to achieve positive outcomes and to avoid negative ones  Effective sexual health education integrates four key components through a variety of activities these allow individuals to develop o 1. A deeper understanding that is relevant to their specific health needs and concerns o 2. The confidence, motivation, and personal insight needed to act on that knowledge o 3. The skills necessary to enhance sexual health and to avoid negative sexual outcomes o 4. A safe, secure and inclusive environment that is conductive to promoting optimal sexual health  The guidelines recognize that students need to make their own informed and responsible choices rather than have choices imposed on them In the home, in the school, or somewhere else?  School is the main source of sexuality education for grade 9 students in Canada’ 41 percent of the girls and 51 percent of the boys gave this response  Relying on friends is the classic blind leading the blind  There are problems with the internet in that none of it is filtered (no quality control)  Sex education in the school is not instead of education in the home o Some sexuality education programs actively involve parents by including homework to be done jointly by parent and child o Students receiving classroom instruction plus homework felt more able to refuse high risk behaviours  Only between 24 and 38 percent of children are getting excellent or very good sex education at home  37 percent rated the sexual health education they had received in school as very good or excellent  The youth indicated that neither schools nor parents promoted meaningful discussions about sex, rather they perceived that both sexual health education and discussion with parents focused on prevention of pregnancy and STIs  Youth also said that there parents gave not so subtle hints that sex was off limits What to teach at different ages  Children’s sexual knowledge o Children begin to develop an understanding of pregnancy and birth at a very early age o Bye age seven or eight, kids may know that three things are involved in making a baby: a social relationship between two people such as love or marriage; sexual activity and the union of sperm and egg o However they may not understand that the sexual activity involves intercourse, at age 12 some children can give a good physiological explanation of reproduction o Some 10 and 11 year olds understand that one of the reasons parents want to be alone is to have sex o Educators need to be aware of the level of the child’s understanding and should not inundate him or her with information inappropriate for his or her age, you should attempt to clarify misunderstandings in the child’s beliefs  Children’s sexual interests o By age 11 many kids are asking questions related to puberty o At age 13 or 14 many youth have specific questions about sexual activity o High school students agree that sex education should begin in early elementary school, and should progress form the simple to the complex o High school students don’t just want bio questions, they want the emotional and more sexually based topics (condoms, arousal etc.) o An analysis of questions emailed to a reproductive health web site found that 23 percent of the questions involved misconceptions about reproduction Attitudes toward school- Based Sexuality Education  6,833 parents in rural southern Ontario found 95% in favour of sex education in the schools; 82 percent felt it should being in the primary grades and continue throughout high school  The vast majority of schools with sex education programs have not experience and conflict  Keep in mind about people that protests: it is very rare, it is usually in minority, and its not over the course as a whole, but over something in particular like a video or book The curriculum  Quebec recently changed its health curriculum so that sexual health education is no longer part of the curriculum (they are suppose to incorporate it into all classes) topic differ from school to school and school board to school board  There are few resources tailored toward specific groups such as GLBT youth, youth with disabilities, or youth from specific ethno cultural communities or the aboriginal community  With people who object to the curriculum often arguing that sexuality education should not provide specific types of information too early, in order to protect, the innocence of children  Having sexual knowledge is helpful and not harmful to children  One area that is particularly controversial is whether the curriculum should address homo- negativity  Most classrooms will have one or maybe two students who are not heterosexual  Thus discussion of sexual orientation helps to meet their needs as well as to increase acceptance of diversity among their classmates  Early sex education o 30 years ago, the goal of these programs was to reduce the number of teen pregnancies o These programs also taught skills designed to improved communication with partners o Subsequent evaluations demonstrated that these programs were not particularly effective at reducing teenage regency or sexual risk-taking behaviour o In the 1990’s the focus changed from teen pregnancy to HIV/AIDS and other STIs o More than99 percent of Canadian parents approve of HIV/AIDS education in the schools o On occasion, someone with the AIDS is brought in talk to with the class o One example of an HIV/AIDS education program in Canadian schools in the 20-hour skills for the health relationship program developed jointly by the federal and provincial governments o Grade 9 students components aimed at delaying sexual activity increasing condom use, creating compassion for persons living with HIV/AIDS, combating homo-negativity, and improving communications and negotiating skills – based on a theoretical model o Students gained significantly in knowledge, became more positive in their attitudes toward people living with AIDS, increased their intentions to communicate assertively in sexual situations and improved their skills in being able to use condoms correctly o A study found that students in 2002 had less knowledge about HIV/AIDS than students who participated in the 1989 Canada youth and AIDS study  Abstinence only programs o Are programs that promote sexual abstinence until marriage as the sole means of preventing pregnancy and exposure to sexually transmitted disease o Millions of dollars have been spent by the US to support the development and wide spread use of these programs o Problems with these programs is that sexual diversity is not accepted or respected o The two most widely used are sex respect and Teen aid  Sex respect: designed for middle school students and includes catchy slogans for children to chant in class, such as don’t be a louse, wait for your spouse! – Throws in a lot of gender-role stereotypes as well, characterizing boys as sexual aggressors and girls as virginity protectors  Sex respect omits a number of important topics, including sexual anatomy, sexual response, abortion and contraception o These programs are expensive and in Canada are usually only offered in church’s o They are not effective in delaying intercourse or reducing teen pregnancy, and is also is worth noting that kids that takes these courses are less likely to use contraceptives when engaging in sex  Comprehensive, theoretically based programs o The social inoculation theory proposes that people are better able to resist social pressure when they recognize the pressure, are motivated to resist it, and have rehearsed resisting it o Social learning theory emphasized the importance of practicing new skills that can be easily translated into behaviour o The IMB model skills model emphasizes not only the importance of health related info, but also enhances both skills and the motivation to use those skills o There are few studies that evaluate school based sex programs, but there need to be due to the increase in HIV and teen pregnancy o US has been reviewed- and researcher have identified six
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