What do families in the UK think about sexuality education?

Young people and their parents told UNESCO what their experience of sexuality education was like as part of the Foundation of Life and Love campaign, which highlights intergenerational stories from families across the world to show why it is so important for young people to learn about health, relationships, gender, sex and sexuality.

This comes as sex and relationships education becomes compulsory for all young people in England, reflecting the increasing acknowledgement by countries that young people need knowledge and skills to make responsible choices in their lives.

Too many young people grow up hearing inaccurate, incomplete or judgement-laden information about sexuality. This can foster feelings of fear and insecurity among young people as they grow up, said UNESCO Senior Programme Specialist for Health and Education, Joanna Herat.

“Comprehensive sexuality education, and support from trusted adults such as parents and teachers, is central in the preparation of young people for a safe, productive, healthy life, in a world where sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, gender-based violence and gender inequality still pose serious risks to their well-being,” Ms Herat said. 

The families from the UK interviewed for the Foundation of Life and Love campaign said it was critical that all young people received sexuality education, but also that it was comprehensive and tailored to their needs. “It needs to be inclusive, honest and fun,” said student Elise Collis, “because otherwise people are just going to be living in fear, and it’s not good to live in fear”.

See more from families in Ghana, Thailand, and China.

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