Introduction: Contemporary Issues in Sexuality and Relationships Education with Young People: Theories in Practice

  • Kathleen Quinlivan
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education book series (GED)


An important part of considering how sexuality and relationships education could explore contemporary issues in sexualities and relationships affecting young people in the classroom involves understanding why sexuality education sits so uncomfortably in schooling contexts, and the issues it inevitably raises (without getting stuck in them). After these have been explicated, the Introduction highlights several contemporary sexuality and relationship issues affecting young people; sex and gender politics in a neoliberal era of consumption and commodification, and attending to the complexities of young people’s engagement with them through digital technologies, and exploring the lived complexities of sexual and gender diversity in young people’s everyday lives. Next I explore how research that utilises contemporary theory to engage with young people’s lived experiences of sexualities and relationships can be helpful in informing approaches to teaching and learning about contemporary issues of sex and gender politics in the classroom. In the final section I introduce how each of the book chapters and the Afterword speak to the major theme of the book; how researchers and teachers working together can create an awareness of the implications of theories underlying practices in the sexuality education classroom, and experiment with using current sociological and philosophical theories to explore contemporary issues in sexualities and relationships affecting young people, through foregrounding students’ lived experiences.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathleen Quinlivan
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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