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Stepwise sexual development of adolescents: the Dutch approach to sexuality education

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Abstract

p>Dutch adolescents develop their sexuality in a stepwise manner, gradually progressing from first kiss to first sexual intercourse. Adolescents who follow a stepwise sexual development are more confident and engage in less risky sexual behaviour than those who do not. Thus, the stepwise 'sexual career' is an excellent model for guiding development of age-appropriate sex education.</p

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... CSE is gaining growing acceptance globally, and such education should start as early as possible to cultivate mature and rational decisions in an age-appropriate manner. CSE provides development-specific information with an emphasis on the positive aspects of sexuality and provides accurate and complete information, as opposed to emphasising risks and warnings; this approach generally effective, particularly in reducing sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy, and helps young people take responsibility and make wise decisions concerning sexuality (Haberland and Rogow 2015;van der Doef and Reinders 2018). Another beneficial result is that the egalitarianism advocated by CSE weakens the effect of in-group bias in students' social decision-making in various contexts. ...
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Many studies have confirmed the positive effects of comprehensive sexuality education on the development of children’s sexuality, such as the acquisition of sexual health knowledge. However, little is known about the impact of comprehensive sexuality education on children’s social development, although several core aspects of the approach stress social concepts such as fairness, respect and equality. This study examined whether comprehensive sexuality education could weaken the effect of in-group bias on social decision-making towards friends and strangers. Compared to the students in a control group, who never received comprehensive sexuality education, we found that students who received six years (72 lessons) of comprehensive sexuality education had a less in-group bias towards strangers regarding trust and fairness as reflected in a trust game, an ultimatum game and a dictator game. These results suggest that comprehensive sexuality education weakened the effect of in-group bias in the experimental group and encouraged egalitarianism in the experimental group’s interpersonal cooperation and social decision-making. These findings suggest that comprehensive sexuality education could positively impact children’s interpersonal attitudes and contribute to their social development.
Article
Objective: To review research on emotional, cognitive, and behavioral levels of sexual development in children and adolescents, and, based on that, to propose a model of sexual development from infancy to early adulthood, the Steps of Sexuality. Methods: Literature review. Results: We present a model of sexual development from infancy to early adulthood, the Steps of Sexuality. Conclusion: We posit that to promote “a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality,” sexuality education needs to focus on emotional needs and positive dimensions/aspects of sexuality.
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Today, more than half of the world population is under the age of 25 years and one in four is under age 18. The urgency of expanding access to Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) notably for children and young people in Africa and Asia is greater than ever before. However, many challenges to the implementation and delivery of CSE in resource poor settings have been identified in the literature. CSE’s effectiveness could be strongly improved if these challenges were better met. This paper aims to contribute to those much-needed improvements by sharing lessons learned from a decade of implementation of one particular CSE programme, The World Starts With Me, among various populations in 11 low income countries in Africa and Asia. The aims, content, reach and effectiveness of the programme are described. Next, the challenges for implementation and delivery at student, teacher, school and context level are discussed with reference to the wider knowledge base in this area. Finally, suggestions are provided for ways forward including the increased sensitivity of programmes for normative and practical barriers to sexual health, further advancement towards gender transformativity, a far-reaching expansion of comprehensive forms of teacher training and coaching, and a serious stepping-up of multilevel ‘whole school’ approaches.
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