‘They Think you Shouldn’t be Having Sex Anyway’: Young People’s Critique of Sexuality Education Content

  • Louisa Allen


This chapter addresses the debate about what should constitute the content of sexuality education. It begins by providing an overview of the nature of this debate and how perspectives within it are configured. The first part of the chapter attempts to understand why this debate exists and how it is conceptualised. I acknowledge the potency of this debate, its implications for other aspects of sexuality education and the constructed and political nature of curricula generally. How this debate is conceptualised is addressed by delineating a series of discourses which constitute various positions articulated within it. I argue that existing academic literature and other voices in this discussion (i.e. school management, caregivers, community organisations) draw on a series of discourses conceptualised as the ‘moral right’, ‘health pragmatism’ and ‘sexual liberalism’. Such discourses mark the existing landscape of content debates, against which young people articulate their own content preferences.


Young People Sexual Activity Sexual Health Sexuality Education Teenage Pregnancy 
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Copyright information

© Louisa Allen 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louisa Allen
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of AucklandNew Zealand

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