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Sexual education of adolescents: how they do it in different countries


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What is sex education

Sexual education lessons exist to tell people of all ages about human anatomy, contraception, pregnancy and childbirth, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and their control, sexual orientation and attitude towards a partner.

You can get sex education in a formal and informal way. The first includes special courses at educational or medical institutions, developed by specialists and approved by the state. The second method (widespread in our country) involves the independent receipt of information by the method of "I heard something somewhere." From conversations with parents, friends, the Internet, the media. To say that the child received a full sexual education is possible only in the first case.

Examples of educational programs in the world

Sexuality education programs exist not only in European countries, but also in Asia, Africa, the United States, that is, almost all over the world. Of course, they are all different, and in many respects depend on the goal pursued by the state, as well as on which structure (religious or secular) created and promoted the training program.

It is impossible to parse all the options in detail, so we will choose only the most popular and widespread.


It is the Netherlands that the proponents of introducing sex education in Russian schools like to take as an example. This is no coincidence: children get their first knowledge at the age of 4-7 years, while the Netherlands has the lowest level of teenage pregnancies and STDs in minors in the world. The connection between these facts can be disputed ad infinitum, however, it was here that the first educational cartoons for preschoolers and primary school students appeared, which are considered part of the biology course. It is worth clarifying that at this age, children do not receive knowledge about sex, but information about their body and its features.

United Kingdom

Every UK school has a sex education program, but any parent can write down their child’s refusal to attend these classes. At the same time, according to the results of numerous surveys, British teenagers themselves want to receive more information on this subject. In the UK there are several versions of the program (for secular and religious schools), all of which take place only in the form of lectures, do not provide for control or discussion on topics. Classes are devoted to the physiology of sexual relations and pregnancy, and the teacher can raise the issues of contraception and safe sex at will.

Pedantic Germans turned out to be the most stubborn in this matter as well - they have a sexual education of the nation. Starting from the elementary grades, students receive knowledge on all gender issues. At the very beginning, these are cartoons and picture books telling about the differences between boys and girls, the appearance of children and creating a comfortable environment in the family.

Then, educational films and lectures on the psychology of growing up, puberty, building the first relationships, and the inadmissibility of violence are used. Adolescents in high school are told in detail and clearly about contraception, diseases, pregnancy and abortion, and homosexuality. Like other subjects, this one is also evaluated; tests and exams are conducted on it.

Sex education in France has been part of the school curriculum for over forty years. In grades 8–9, the school devotes 40 hours to this subject and places particular emphasis on contraception and respect for the partner.

In the United States, there are two types of sex education teaching in schools - “full” and “limited to abstinence”. Which program the child will end up with depends on the state, the type of school, and even the principal. In the case of full sexual education, a child from grade 3 to 10 will receive information about gender differences, pregnancy, childbirth, contraception, diseases of the genital area, sexual orientation, violence, abortion, etc. If we are talking about education with limited abstinence, then the training course will be much shorter (only two years) and the emphasis will be on the ethical side of inter-sexual relations. Simply put, the teacher will tell children for two years that sex should not be done before marriage, without specifying why and what consequences this could lead to.

Asian countries

In such Asian countries as China, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, and Malaysia, sex education is provided in schools, but the main emphasis is on studying the physiology of the process. However, this is enough to ensure that students know the necessary minimum and do not risk their health. But in Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan, such knowledge is not given either at school or at the institute.

African countries

Gender education in Africa has been conducted by the Red Cross and other volunteer organizations over the past thirty years. The main goal of the program is to reduce the increase in the incidence of AIDS and teenage pregnancies. Unfortunately, many African countries have not yet “grown up” to their own educational initiatives and are completely dependent on volunteers.

Statistical Results of Sex Education in the World

Despite the growth of debauchery predicted by Russian experts and the destruction of moral standards, countries conducting sex education classes can boast of excellent results in the field of adolescent health.

Statistics show that the number of teenage pregnancies that ended in childbirth or abortion, as well as cases of STDs among minors, are much lower in states that actively promote sexual literacy.

So, the number of pregnancies per thousand underage women:

  • Netherlands - 12
  • Spain - 12
  • Italy - 13
  • Greece - 13
  • Belgium - 15
  • Germany - 18
  • Finland - 19
  • France - 22
  • Norway - 31
  • Great Britain -51
  • USA - 86

Unfortunately, there are no official statistics on abortion among underage residents of Russia, various sources say the figure is from 45 to 75 girls per thousand, but it should be understood that we are talking only about registered operations performed in state clinics. The number of minors giving birth is approximately 30 out of a thousand. Thus, Russia is pretty ahead of all European countries, although it can not be compared with African countries, where such indicators start from 105 people per thousand and reach 300.

Prospects for sex education in Russia

Despite the change of the children's ombudsman, the situation with sex education in Russia is unlikely to change for the better in the coming years. The state still leaves this topic at the mercy of the family, and parents do not find the strength and words to discuss. Absolutely illiterate in matters of inter-sexual interaction, adolescents continue to seek information on their own and, as a result, cause significant damage to their health.

Elena Anatolyevna Rodionova, director of a secondary school