Sex education is the dissemination of information about sexuality to children, adolescents, or adults, which provides knowledge on human sexuality for the time being perceived as sufficient.
Sexual education actively and purposefully serves to a form a sex attitude, which is perceived to be correct in the particular culture and its prevailing sexual morality.
The sex education refers primarily to the following topics:
- the human body and its function, anatomy of man and woman, anatomical changes during growth and puberty
- adult and sex life, sexuality
- conception, pregnancy, contraception, childbirth, breastfeeding, marriage, parents, children, and family planning
- personal hygiene, especially sexual health and intimate care
- prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV/AIDS
- sexuality as cultural behavior, social norm, and the deviation from it.
Young people need space for their sexual development and live through a conflict-ridden separation process in the family. They argue with their parents about the sexual freedoms and developments, which they can accept from each other. The childhood at home is ending and they are looking for their new adult role. During puberty, almost all young people feel a physical attraction to their own sex, without, however, being a homosexual. It is significant, how they deal with all the uncertainties, the new and unsettling experiences and sensations, emotions, fears, desires and longings, first infatuation with conservative approaches, caresses, the first sexual contact. Girls and boys experience the changes in their body at puberty, the ebb and flow of emotions between euphoria and depression, the cautious enthusiasms and discovering the pleasure of their own body, sexual fantasies and masturbation. Without an age-appropriate information, this all represents a major uncertainty.
Sex education in primary schools is usually within the competence of the teacher; in higher schools, it is usually provided in the context of biology teaching.
Even in the 1950s, human sexuality was a public taboo subject. Illustrations in textbooks showed humans mostly as sexless beings. Women’s sexuality was directly linked to marriage, pregnancy, and motherhood. Women who became pregnant without being married were socially ostracized.
In the 1960s, there were, thank to, among others, the birth control pill, a counter-movement, the so-called sex wave. The student movement advocated free love by the motto: “Make love not war.”
Today, sex education is no longer a taboo subject. The sex education in the context of human science is a part of social education and a mandatory and integral part of the school subject biology.
Sex education is an essential element in the fight against HIV / AIDS, especially among illiterate people in developing countries. Total Control of the Epidemic is a country-wide campaign of the NGO Humana People to People to educate especially the rural population in undeveloped areas.
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