Faith, Progressive Sexuality Education, and Queer Secularism: Unsettling Associations

  • Mary Lou Rasmussen


This chapter commences with a discussion of recent quantitative studies that point to the persistence of high birth rates among young people with strong religious affiliations regardless of whether young people live in states that have predominantly comprehensive or abstinence-based approaches to sexuality education. I then turn to Jesse Mills’ qualitative study of a comprehensive sexuality education program in San Diego, California, aimed at Somali young people that speaks to the entrenched ways in which notions of progressivism shape what can be achieved within the framing of a progressive approach. Two notions borrowed from Jasbir Puar “queer secularism” and “sexual exceptionalism” inform my analysis of progressive sexuality education in the final section. The work of Saba Mahmood, Janet Jakobsen, and Ann Pellegrini is also instructive in unpacking the project of progressive sexuality education.



This chapter also appears in Mary Lou Rasmussen’s (2016) Progressive Sexuality Education: The Conceits of Secularism. New York, NY: Routledge.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Open Access This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Lou Rasmussen
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Sociology, Research School of Social SciencesAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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