Evolving Goals of Sexuality Education
Sexuality education can have different goals. Knowledge acquisition, improving personal psychological adjustment, and improving relationships between partners are popular goals. Early sexuality education programs focused primarily on increasing knowledge levels and educating students about the risks of pregnancy (Kirby, 1992), believing that if knowledge levels were increased, then students would understand why it was important for them to avoid unprotected sexual intercourse. Soon sexuality education programs added values clarification and skills, including communication and decision-making skills. These second-generation sexuality education programs were based on the idea that if knowledge levels were increased and if students became more aware of their own values and had better decision-making skills, they would have an easier time talking to their partners and evaluating their own behavior.
Today, comprehensive sexuality education tries to help students develop a positive view of sexuality. The Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, 2004a) are a framework designed to help promote the development of comprehensive sexuality education programs nationwide. Originally developed in 1990, the guidelines were revised again in 2004 and include four main goals for sexuality education:
1. To provide accurate information about human sexuality.
2. To provide an opportunity for young people to question, explore, and assess their sexual attitudes.
3. To help young people develop interpersonal skills, including communication, decision making, peer refusal, and assertiveness skills that will allow them to create satisfying relationships.
4. To help young people develop the ability to exercise responsibility regarding sexual relationships.
. . The guidelines have also been adapted for use outside the United States and are being
Review Question used in both Cairo and Beijing to help design and implement a variety of sexuality edu-
Explain both sides of the sexuality cation programs,