Reality-Based Sexuality Education

Updated: FEBRUARY 27, 2017

Reality-based sexuality education is a model of sex education which considers the way adolescents act in the real world and provides accurate information that reflects this. Information about contraceptive methods and devices is a key part of reality-based sexuality education programs.

Reality-based sexuality education is part of the national education policies of several nations, including England, Wales, the Netherlands, and France.

Reality-based sexuality education is sometimes called comprehensive sexuality education, because its curriculum is more thorough than abstinence-based sexuality education programs.

More About Reality-Based Sexuality Education

Numerous studies show many young people begin experimenting with their sexuality in middle school. By the end of high school, most teens have engaged in sexual acts. Reality-based sexuality education reflects this reality and provides information these young people can use to keep themselves safe. This information is not provided in abstinence-only sex education programs.

Like abstinence-only sex programs, reality-based sexuality education teaches students that abstinence is the most reliable way to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. However, reality-based sexuality education also teaches that there are other ways to prevent contracting a disease and becoming pregnant. Students receive information about a variety of contraceptive methods so they can make the most informed decisions.

When properly implemented, reality-based sexuality education programs have been proven to help young people make responsible choices about their sexuality. Reality-based sexuality education programs are most effective when delivered before students lose their virginity. Students who receive this type of sex education are more likely to delay sexual intercourse and engage in protected sex when they choose to become sexually active. They are also less likely to fall pregnant or have abortions as teens. Despite this, critics of the programs suggest they make students more promiscuous and encourage sexual behavior.


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