Comprehensive sexuality education

Through comprehensive sexuality education, a person acquires knowledge and skills through which they have the opportunity to reflect on their own attitudes in matters related to sexuality. Based on this information, a person makes the best possible choices for themselves about the realization of their own sexuality.

The objective of comprehensive sexuality education is good sexual health and sexual well-being. Comprehensive sexuality education supports everyone’s right to sexual self-determination, the right to experience their own sexuality as good and dignified, and provides an opportunity to reflect on gender and sexuality.

Each adult working with children and young people is a sex educator, whether they like it or not. Therefore, each educator should pay attention to their sexuality-related values, attitudes, and pain points, and consider how they will be conveyed to the children, either consciously or unconsciously.

If children do not receive research-based comprehensive sexuality education, sexuality-related patterns and beliefs are learned from somewhere anyway. Without planned comprehensive sexuality education, a young person’s ability to understand and question, for example, the models learned from pornography and other entertainment, as well as from friends, and the beliefs behind them, may be deficient.

Comprehensive sexuality education begins in childhood

Comprehensive sexuality education is needed throughout life. Child sexuality and comprehensive sexuality education are different from those of young people and adults. On our website you will find a lot of information on the subject!

Parents need information about a children’s sexuality. A parent information bank can be found here: Positive, child-level knowledge, skills and attitudes as well as appreciation of your own body are important to teach.  Body emotion education is carried out at home, in early childhood education and at school.

See the poster Promoting child development – age appropriate, child-centred sexuality education in English, in Swedish, in Finnish, in Germany, in Russian, in Estonian, in Northern Sami language.

Children’s body emotion education

Comprehensive sexuality education for young children is called body emotion education. It better describes the development and needs of young children. Body emotion education includes child-level knowledge of the body, emotions, safety skills, and rights. Read more about body emotion education.

Your own boundaries

Comprehensive sexuality education and the right information improve a young person’s ability to take care of themselves and avoid being at risk. Talking about sexuality, sex, or contraception does not expose a young person to risky behaviour and is not a springboard for earlier sexual experiences.

In the past, it was thought that a young person’s good sexual health primarily means that the young person does not have sex. Today, however, it is understood that getting to know one’s own sexuality is part of the developmental task of youth. Comprehensive sexuality education gives young people the means to get to know their own sexuality while respecting their own and others’ boundaries.

Adults and special groups also need comprehensive sexuality education

Adults of different ages also need comprehensive sexuality education, for example in changed life situations. It is important to remember that every human being is a sexual being. The right to enjoy sexuality and to receive comprehensive sexuality education also applies to special groups, such as people with developmental disabilities and non-neurotypic people in various ways