'Safe sex'

evaluation of sex education and sexual risk by young adults in Sydney

Meghan Cook, Lisa Wynn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In this qualitative study, 28 young adults (18-29-year-olds) living in Sydney define ‘safe sex’, report on their experiences of sex education, and reflect on the relationship between the sex education received in school and the reality of sexual activity. Participants had a broadly neoliberal understanding of health and risk as something individuals should manage through an ideal of rational decision-making. Yet regardless of how comprehensive or limited their sex education experiences, most noted a wide gulf between safe sex as taught in the classroom and the reality of actual sexual encounters, arguing that sexual decision-making was rarely rational, and shaped by age and experience, drug use, sexual desire, and complicated interpersonal dynamics. Sex education that aims to empower by presenting individuals as sole decision-makers when it comes to prophylactic use fails to acknowledge the social contexts of sex described by participants. Significantly, young people defined ‘safe sex’ not only in biomedical terms such as disease transmission and pregnancy, but also in terms of the social and psychological consequences of sexual encounters, with an emphasis on consent.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • safe sex
  • sex education
  • Australia
  • sexuality
  • young people
  • Safe sex

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of ''Safe sex': evaluation of sex education and sexual risk by young adults in Sydney'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this