Common Myths about Comprehensive Sexuality Education

Common Myths about Comprehensive Sexuality Education

  October 26, 2015 9:19 am

Evidence has shown that comprehensive sexuality education that is scientifically accurate, culturally and age-appropriate, gender-sensitive and life skill-based can provide young people with the knowledge, skills and efficacy to make informed decisions about their sexuality and lifestyle.

Comprehensive sexuality education emphasizes a holistic approach to human development and sexuality, reinforcing healthy behaviours that prevent unhealthy or abusive relationships, HIV/AIDS and teenage pregnancy, among others. Often, sexuality education has been criticized by abstinence-only education supporters despite the evidence that show that it, in contrast, delays the onset of young people’s sexual activity.

Take a look at the video, outlining some of the common myths and facts about CSE. Share with friends, family and colleagues!


Here are some of the myths and facts that are correlated with comprehensive sexuality education.


MYTH 1: Comprehensive sexuality education encourages young people to have sex.

FACT 1: According to research, sexuality education can help young people delay their first sexual experience, and increase the likelihood of HIV or pregnancy prevention. It builds communication skills so it’s easier for young people to decide when and with whom to have sex, or to say if they don’t want to. Evidence has also shown that even those that have already had sex, the education approach helps reduce risky sexual behaviour such as the frequency or sexual intercourse, the number of partners and contraceptives used.


MYTH 2: Comprehensive sexuality education should be the responsibility of parents and families.

FACT 2: According to research, there is an overwhelming majority that indicate parents support comprehensive sexuality education in schools. Families are an important source of information for children and young people. But schools have an essential role to play in delivering structured education that focuses on objective scientific information, and the development of skills. It is best delivered by trained teachers, in school when children are also with their peers.


MYTH: Comprehensive sexuality education goes against our culture or religion.

FACT: Comprehensive sexuality education should be adapted to the culture and realities of every country, including the realities of young people’s lives. It also gives young people the opportunity to reflect on any harmful social norms that may impact on their lives, such as gender inequality.


MYTH: Comprehensive sexuality education should not be taught to young children – especially when they are exposed to the mechanics of sex.

FACT: Comprehensive sexuality education at its very core is designed to be age-appropriate, ensuring topics are tailored for varied age groups. The subjects will vary depending on age and grade – but builds on their knowledge as they grow and mature. For example, at a primary school level, topics will cover body parts and family structure. From grade three to five, they begin to learn about the changing body during puberty and age-appropriate information about HIV and its transmission. In secondary school, abstinence and other concepts in HIV/STI and pregnancy prevention are emphasized.

To learn more, read the following resource, which outlines in more detail CSE, its approach and the topics and subjects it covers:

International Technical Guidance resource







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