What is Sex Education?

Sex education helps people gain the information and skills they need to make the best decisions for themselves about sex and relationships. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest provider of sex education, reaching 1.2 million people a year through education and outreach.

Facts About Sex Education

Sex education is high quality teaching and learning about a broad variety of topics related to sex and sexuality. It explores values and beliefs about those topics and helps people gain the skills that are needed to navigate relationships with self, partners, and community, and manage one’s own sexual health. Sex education may take place in schools, at home, in community settings, or online.

Planned Parenthood believes that parents play a critical and central role in providing sex education. Here are sex education resources for parents.

Related Post: What Are the Goals of Sex Education?

Comprehensive sex education refers to K-12 programs that cover a broad range of topics related to:

  • Human development, including puberty, anatomy, sexual orientation, and gender identity
  • Relationships, including self, family, friendships, romantic relationships, and health care providers
  • Personal skills, including communication, boundary setting, negotiation, and decision-making
  • Sexual behavior, including the full spectrum of ways people choose to be, or not be, sexual beings
  • Sexual health, including sexually transmitted infections, birth control, pregnancy, and abortion
  • Society and culture, including media literacy, shame and stigma, and how power, identity, and oppression impact sexual wellness and reproductive freedom

There are several important resources that helpwith implementing sex education, including:

  • The Future of Sex Education Initiative (FoSE) seeks to create a national dialogue about the future of sex education and to promote the institutionalization of comprehensive sex education in public schools. They’ve developed the first-ever National Sexuality Education StandardsNational Teacher Preparation Standards, and many additional toolkits and materials to strengthen comprehensive sex education implementation and professional development.
  • The SIECUS Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education were developed by a national task force of experts in the field of adolescent development, health care, and education. They provide a framework of the key concepts, topics, and messages that all sex education programs would ideally include.

What Role Does Planned Parenthood Play In Sex Education?

Planned Parenthood education staff reach 1.2 million people each year, most of whom are in middle school and high school.

Planned Parenthood education departments around the country provide a range of programming options, including:

  • Evidence-based and evidence-informed education programs that have been proven to work
  • Peer education programs
  • Promotores programs and other community-driven, culturally relevant health education programs
  • Parent/family education programs
  • LGBTQ-focused programs for LGBTQ youth and their parents/caregivers
  • Training of professionals, including educators and school-staff, community-based organization staff, and faith-based leaders
  • Outreach and single session workshops

Related Post: What’s the State of Sex Education In the U.S.?

Sex Education Resources

The best sex education resource is your local Planned Parenthood education department!

There are also many other resources available to inform and guide sex education programs and policies:

Advocates for Youth

Advocates for Youth partners with youth leaders, adult allies, and youth-serving organizations to advocate for policies and champion programs that recognize young people’s rights to honest sexual health information and accessible, confidential, and affordable sexual health services.

Answer

Answer provides high-quality training to teachers and other youth-serving professionals.

ETR Associates

ETR offers science-based health and education products and programs for health professionals, educators, and others throughout the United States.

The Guttmacher Institute

The Guttmacher Institute is the leading research and policy organization committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United States and globally through high-quality research, evidence-based advocacy, and strategic communications.

Future of Sex Education

The Future of Sex Education Initiative (FoSE) was launched as a partnership between Advocates for Youth, Answer, and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS) to create a national dialogue about the future of sex education and to promote comprehensive sex education in public schools.

Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network

GLSEN works to ensure that every student in every school is valued and treated with respect, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Power to Decide

The mission of Power to Decide is to ensure that all young people—no matter who they are, where they live, or what their economic status might be—have the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child. They do this by increasing information, access, and opportunity.

Sex Education Collaborative

The Sex Education Collaborative (SEC) advances and scales K–12 school-based sex education across the U.S. by leveraging its collective leadership, networks, and resources, including through it’s training hub for youth-serving professionals.

SIECUS

SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change advocates for the rights of all people to access accurate information, comprehensive sex education, and the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health services.