Sex education is the process of acquiring information and forming attitudes and beliefs about sex, sexual identity, relationships, and intimacy. It is also about developing young people's skills so that they make informed choices about their behavior, and feel confident and competent about acting on these choices. Young people have a right to sex education because it is a way of helping to protect themselves against abuse, exploitation, unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV/AIDS. Sex education seeks to both reduce the risks of potentially negative outcomes from sexual behavior and to enhance the quality of relationships. It is also about developing young people's ability to make decisions over their entire lifetime.
If sex education is going to be effective it needs to include opportunities for young people to develop skills, since it can be hard for them to act on the basis of only having information. For example, being able to communicate, listen, negotiate, ask for and identify sources of help and advice, are useful life-skills and can be applied in terms of sexual relationships. Other important skills include being able to recognize pressures from other people and to resist them, deal with and challenge prejudice, seek help from adults including parents, guardians and professionals through the family, community and health and welfare services. Sex education that works also equips young people with the skills to be able to differentiate between accurate and inaccurate information, discuss a range of moral and social issues and perspectives on sex and sexuality, including different cultural attitudes and sensitive issues like sexuality, abortion and contraception.
Young people can be exposed to a wide range of attitudes and beliefs in relation to sex and sexuality. These sometimes appear contradictory and confusing. Young people are very interested in the moral and cultural structures that bind sex and sexuality....
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