The Open UniversitySkip to content

A survey of English teenagers' sexual experience and preferences for school-based sex education

Newby, Katie; Wallace, Louise M.; Dunn, Orla and Brown, Katherine E. (2012). A survey of English teenagers' sexual experience and preferences for school-based sex education. Sex Education, 12(2) pp. 231–251.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Rates of sexually transmitted infections and teenage pregnancy amongst the under-16s are causing increasing concern. There is limited evidence about the sexual behaviour and sex education preferences of this age group, especially of those from Black and minority ethnic groups. This study aimed to provide data on early heterosexual risk behaviour, and to examine preferences for the content and delivery of sex and relationships education (SRE), across ethnicity, gender and school year to inform priority setting and sex education strategies. A cross-sectional study of 3334 13-17-year-olds from 10 English urban and suburban secondary schools was conducted. Multivariate analysis was performed to examine the independent effect of demographic variables on sexual experience and preferences for sex education. A number of important differences in the sexual experience and condom use of males and females across the ethnic groups were identified. Differences in preferences for the content and delivery of sex education were also identified, particularly between male and female pupils. The findings indicate the potential for quite wide variation in sexual experience and preferences within school classrooms. The challenge for educators is therefore to develop SRE curricula that are inclusive within the constraints of school teaching.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2012 Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1472-0825
Keywords: young people; sexual experience; condom use; ethnicity; gender
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Item ID: 46565
Depositing User: Louise Wallace
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2016 09:21
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 10:41
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU