Psychology 2075 Chapter Notes - Chapter 19: Sexual Slang, Uptodate, Safe Sex

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Chapter 19: Sexuality Education
Sexuality Education the lifelong process of acquiring information about sexual behaviour and
forming attitudes, beliefs and values about identity, relationships and intimacy
oCan occur in many settings
Purposes of Sexuality Education
The goal to promote healthy sexuality
What is sexual health?
oA state of physical, emotional, mental and social well being in relation to sexuality
oFor sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be
respected, protected and fulfilled
oNot just freedom from disease or dysfunction
SIECCAN The Sex Information and Education Council of Canada
oA national resource for up to date information, research and publications on human
sexuality and sexual health
oHelps people to achieve positive outcomes and to avoid negative ones
Effective sexual health education integrates 4 key components allowing a person to develop…
o1. A deeper understanding that is relevant to their specific health needs and concerns
o2. The confidence, motivation and personal insight needed to act on that knowledge
o3. The skills necessary to enhance sexual health and to avoid negative sexual health
o4. A safe, secure and inclusive environment that is conducive to promoting optimal
sexual health
The guidelines of the SIECCAN emphasizes the self-worth and dignity of the person and
encourage respect for diversity in values, background and sexual orientation
The guidelines also recognize that students need to make their own informed and responsible
choices rather than have choices imposed on them
The Sexuality Information and Education Counsel of the US identifies 7 topics as the minimum,
essential content
oAnatomy and physiology
oPuberty and adolescent development
oPregnancy and reproduction
oSTIs and HIV
oHealthy relationships
oPersonal safety
In the Home, in the School, or Somewhere Else?
School is the main source of sex ed. for grade 9 students in Canada
o41% of girls, 51% of boys
Only 6% of boys and 14% of girls identified parents or other family members as their main
source of sex ed.
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Many children are given little or not sex ed. at home
oNot talking about sex with your children sends negative messages
oPeople for whom sex was not discussed at home may have difficulty talking about sex
with their partner or children, may develop negative attitudes about their own sexuality or
sex in general or may not be equipped to make good sexual choices
TV, movies, magazines, friends and the Internet are important sources of information for many
In many cases, the information provided on TV and in movies is sensationalized and unrealistic
Relying on friends for information is not wise
oThey likely know no more than you do
Teens are increasingly turning to the Internet for information about sex
oMore than 50% of high school students report that they have searched for health info
The problem with the internet is that there is no quality control
The worst source is pornography
A problem is that youth who have immigrated to Canada within the last 3 years are more likely
to report not having received sex ed.
Most Canadian parents, teachers and students feel that both parents and schools have a role to
play in providing sex ed.
Students receiving classroom instruction plus homework felt more able to refuse high risk
behaviours and more often intended to delay initiation of intercourse compared with students
only receiving classroom instruction
oThe homework appeared to reinforce the school based program and resulted in greater
parent-child communication about sex
In a study, youth indicate that neither schools nor parents promoted meaningful discussions
about sex
oThey perceived that sex discussion with parents focused on prevention of pregnancy and
What was missing was discussion of issues related to sexual relationships and
positive aspects
What to Teach at Different Ages
A process that must begin when children are small
What is taught at any particular age depends on the child’s sexual behaviour, sexual knowledge
and sexual interests at that age
Children’s Sexual Knowledge
Children begin to develop an understanding of pregnancy and birth at a very early age
By age 7 or 8, children know that 3 things are involved in making a baby a social relationship
between two people (love or marriage), sexual activity, and the union of sperm and egg
oHowever, they may not understand that the sexual activity involves intercourse
At age 12, some children can give a good physiological explanation of reproduction (the sperm
meeting the egg, etc.)
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Some 10 and 11 year olds understand that one of the reasons parents want to be alone is to have
oOthers are reluctant to recognize this
Many children engage in sexual play and exploration
oYoung children often engage in sexual behaviour without having a clear understanding of
what it means
Children’s Sexual Interests
Children’s knowledge and interest in sex are reflected in the questions they ask
oSuch questions are often stimulated by hearing the term in conversation or in the media
High school students agree that sex ed. should begin in early elementary and should progress
from the simple to the complex
oThey believe it should cover a wide range of topics (reproduction, pregnancy, abortion,
BC, disease prevention, sexual violence, relationships, gender roles, sexual pleasure,
sexual orientation and attraction, sexual decision making)
oThey believe these should be presented in grade 8 and revisited in high school
oThey want sex ed. that talks more about sex-feelings, arousal, foreplay, contraception,
condoms, healthy relationships, sexual pleasure and sexual communication
oAlso want it to be respectful of their choices
Sexual education evolves during the preschool years (as early as age 2)
Attitudes Toward School-Based Sexuality Education
Very high levels of support for sex ed. in schools among parents, teachers and students
oParents, teachers, middle-school students and high school students were consistent with
each other in many of their views
There is strong support for broad-based sex ed. in schools beginning in the primary grades
The media regularly publicizes controversies in which parents are protesting sex ed. in schools,
oThis is rare (the vast majority of schools with sex ed. have not experienced such conflict)
oThe protesters are usually in a minority
oThe controversy if often not over whether there should be a program but over the use of a
particular curriculum, book or video
The Curriculum
All Canadian provinces and territories, except for Quebec, have school-based sexual health
oIn 2005, Quebec removed sex ed. from its curriculum
oInstead, teachers are asked to incorporate teaching of sexual health into other subjects
such as math, science or history
The comprehensiveness of the curriculum that is taught varies considerably across schools,
school boards and provinces
A major problem is that the curricula tends to only go up to grade 8 or 9 even though students in
grades 10-12 are the most likely to be engaging in sex
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