UK sex education 'portrays men as predators', report finds

Review finds schools are delivering poor sex education

A review of studies from 55 publications in the US, New Zealand, Canada, Sweden and mainly in the UK found sex education was often "out of touch with many young people's lives"

Monday, September 12, 2016

Experts have said UK schools are delivering poor-quality sex education, with some struggling to accept that young people are sexually active.

The review, which took in studies from 55 separate publications, found that sex education in the UK is often "out of touch with many young people's lives" and young people sampled by the report suggested the classes often portrayed men as predators.

The authors also criticised the overly "scientific" approach to sex, which ignored pleasure and desire.

The publications cited by the report were drawn from five countries - the UK, US, New Zealand, Canada and Sweden.

The authors found that young people dislike having their own teachers deliver sex education, and have presented the solution of bringing specialist teachers in to conduct the classes.

The review also found that teachers were often poorly trained and embarrassed, while mixed-sex classes could be disrupted by young men who were trying to hide their anxieties.

Focusing on the views of young people, it found SRE often portrayed sex in a negative way and there was too much focus on abstinence. 

The review found there was little or no discussion of gay, bisexual, or transgender sex, and many young people also felt that SRE should be taught at an earlier age. 

Writing in the journal BMJ Open, they said: "Unless we get the delivery right, young people will continue to disengage from SRE and opportunities for safeguarding young people and improving their sexual health will be reduced."