Pleasure and Sex Education: The Need for Broadening Both Content and Measurement

Leslie Kantor, Rutgers University Laura D. Lindberg

First published on American Journal of Public Health:

Abstract / Summary

Sex education in the United States is limited in both its content and the measures used to collect data on what is taught. The risk-reduction framework that guides the teaching of sex education in the United States focuses almost exclusively on avoiding unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, overlooking other critical topics such as the information and skills needed to form healthy relationships and content related to sexual pleasure.

Young people express frustration about the lack of information on sexuality and sexual behavior that is included in sex education programs; sexual and gender minority youths, in particular, feel overlooked by current approaches.

International guidance provides a more robust framework for developing and measuring sex education and suggests a number of areas in which US sex education can improve to better meet the needs of youths.