Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Sex ed and young people’s positive sexual experiences

Findings from new research from the University of Coventry support those of several CRFR research projects. The University of Coventry study showed that the majority of young people has sex because they are in a relationship and want to experience sexual pleasure. It also found that young people want to get information about sex and relationships from formal sex education.

The most recent CRFR Research briefing
How was it for you? The quality of young people’s sexual relationships (http://www.crfr.ac.uk/reports/rb%2050.pdf)
found that
  • most 15 and 16 year olds were positive about their early sexual relationships
  • the vast majority currently in relationships indicated that they enjoyed their time spent together, enjoyed their physical contact, and did not find it difficult to show affection

However, the study also found that

  • Those who delayed sexual intercourse and restricted it to established relationships were most positive about the quality of their sexual relationships
  • The quality of sexual relationships was most influenced by circumstances of first intercourse and subsequent sexual history, rather than background social factors
  • The earlier first intercourse occurred the more likely it was that young people would experience pressure and regret, particularly for girls
  • Targeted interventions are needed for the most vulnerable young people

The importance of sex education was raised in

It's my body: calls to ChildLine Scotland about sexual health & wellbeing


Children and young people find it difficult to talk to their friends and parents about sex. However, when they do talk about it, peer communication and relationships are most important. This ChildLine/CRFR study that investigated calls to ChildLine about sexual health recommended the following:

• young people have ongoing needs for information, so education must be provided throughout the years in education
• the sexual health curriculum needs to challenge young people’s conceptions of normality
• children and young people must be provided with a clear understanding of their rights
• confidential services that give consideration to children and young people’s expressed needs and wishes are essential
• greater social recognition and education is needed concerning abuse perpetrated by people the children know and love
• services and interventions need to address sexually aggressive behaviour by other young people, particularly partner abuse perpetrated by young men against young women

For information about the University of Coventry research see


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