Where’s the Pleasure In That? Examining the Impacts of B.C.’s Sex Education System on Women’s Sexuality




Mark, Adele

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Women’s pleasure has been largely ignored within sex education. Instead, discourses of danger and risk dominate the curriculum leaving little room for women to explore the positive aspects of their sexuality. Therefore, the current study addresses the impact that kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12) sexual health education has on women’s sexual experiences in young adulthood, with specific regard to experiencing sexual pleasure and navigating risks. The purpose of this study was to give participants an opportunity to reflect on the influence that sexual health education had on their perceptions and enactments of their sexuality, and to offer insights for the continued development of a sexual health education curriculum that supports women to engage in safe and satisfying sexual practices. One focus group was conducted with four women in university who received their sex education in B.C. The transcript was analyzed using thematic analysis. The findings demonstrate the considerable impact that sex education has on women’s sexuality. The structure of sex education is in direct opposition to the development of women’s sexual subjectivity and the pursuit of their authentic desire. This study highlights the need for more sex positive and social-emotional approaches to sex education that empower women to pursue the sexual identities, desires, and experiences that feel authentic to them.



sexual health, pleasure, feminism, sex education, women's sexuality