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ERIC Number: EJ1012624
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 60
ISSN: ISSN-1468-1811
The Use and Misuse of Pleasure in Sex Education Curricula
Lamb, Sharon; Lustig, Kara; Graling, Kelly
Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning, v13 n3 p305-318 2013
Since Michelle Fine's writing on the missing discourse of desire in sex education, there has been considerable prompting among sexuality educators and feminist scholars to incorporate talk of pleasure into sex education curricula. While the calls for inclusion continue, few have actually examined the curricula for a pleasure discourse or explored how it is contextualised within sex education curricula. In this paper, we analysed curricula used in the USA in the past decade. A qualitative thematic analysis revealed that the discourse around pleasurable sex was often linked to a range of dangerous or negative outcomes including not using condoms, rushing into sex without thinking, regretted sex, and pregnancy or STDs. When the discourse around pleasure was included in sections on "knowing one's body", this discourse took a medicalised, scientific tone. Pleasurable sex was also presented in more positive ways, either linked to marriage in Abstinence Only Until Marriage curricula, or within a more feminist discourse about female pleasure in comprehensive sex education curricula. Our research indicates that a discourse of desire is not missing, but that this discourse was often situated as part of a discourse on safe practice and there, continues to equate pleasure with danger. (Contains 1 table.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A