Engaging young working class men in the delivery of sex and relationships education

Sally Brown*, Fiona McQueen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Despite a substantial body of research on young people’s wishes about the content and delivery of sex and relationships education (SRE), studies still indicate dissatisfaction with the way lessons are provided. This discussion takes place in a public health context where young people’s sexual activity is viewed negatively as a risk to health, and advice focusses on the need to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. This focus on risk clashes with cultural representations of sexuality, and particularly male sexuality, which focus on pleasure and risk taking. In this paper, we present insights from workshops provided by a local charity to boys aged 14–15 in a school in one of the most deprived areas in Edinburgh, Scotland. We held four focus groups with a total of 20 boys and interviewed the workshop providers and the school guidance teacher. The boys valued having men from outside school talking to them about sex and relationships in ways that made them feel respected. They were keen to learn more about relationships, highlighting the need to focus on how SRE is delivered to young working class men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-201
Number of pages16
JournalSex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • class
  • gender
  • masculinity
  • Scotland
  • Sex and relationships education
  • young men


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