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ERIC Number: EJ993101
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 97
ISSN: ISSN-1468-1811
Fertility, the Reproductive Lifespan and the Formal Curriculum in England: A Case for Reassessment
Littleton, Fiona Kisby
Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning, v12 n5 p483-497 2012
Historical studies have shown that, since its beginnings, sex education in England has mostly focused on "damage limitation", emphasising only the dangerous inevitability of pregnancy and childbirth after unprotected sex and the hazards of sexually transmitted diseases. This approach is largely based on restrictive notions of teenage sexuality, characterising teenagers as hypersexual beings for whom sexual drives continuously threaten to produce unwanted babies unless preventive action is taken. Analysis of current materials from many curricular areas reveals that this is still the case. Yet, recent demographic evidence shows that educated women in Europe continue to delay first childbirth for a number of reasons. At the same time they are also subject to seductive and deceptive media messages about the possibilities of conception at late reproductive age through reporting on "older" celebrity mothers, and the role that reproductive technologies play in conquering infertility. In the light of these demographic trends, and the misleading hidden curriculum, this paper contends that discourses of damage limitation are no longer appropriate in sex education. Instead, if educated women are to gain full reproductive autonomy then new, more balanced conceptualisations of sex education that also incorporate appropriate messages about the finite nature of the reproductive lifespan are needed. Not only will this help schools provide comprehensive, quality, progressive sex education, it will also ultimately contribute to future national health and well-being. (Contains 2 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)