Secondary (compulsory content)

Adolescents have many important experiences with regard to sexuality: they consolidate their identity, become aware of their sexual orientation, have their first romantic relationships, gradually explore different aspects of sexual behaviour and develop their capacity for intimacy. They also generally have access to many sources of information on sexuality.

The content aims to:

  • support students in their development by enabling them to acquire knowledge, reflect on various issues (e.g. consent, protection, safety, egalitarian relationships) and help them make informed choices
  • reinforce students’ safety net with regard to sexual assault and discrimination based on sexual and gender diversity
  • inform students of safe sexual behaviours to prevent sexually transmissible and blood-borne infections (STBBIs) and unplanned pregnancy

Themes

Examples of content

Examples of adolescents’ questions

A few facts

Emotional and romantic life

Students learn to:

  • become aware of the role of feelings of love and attraction in adolescence
  • understand how feelings of love and attraction help them to become aware of their sexual orientation
  • become aware of the benefits of a romantic relationship based on mutuality
  • search for solutions to prevent or stop sexual violence in the context of a dating relationship
  • understand how experience acquired in previous interpersonal and romantic relationships can enrich their current relationships
 

11-13 years old:

What does it take to get a girlfriend?

 

14-15 years old:

Should I tell my parents that I’m in a relationship?

 

How do you tell someone you love them when you’re too shy?

 

16-17 years old:

Is it normal for a couple who loves each other to argue a lot?

All adolescents experience feelings of love and attraction and most even have romantic relationships, but, among young people of the same age, each individual’s experience is different.

 

Regardless of adolescents’ gender, sexual orientation or culture, romantic relationships provide a learning context in which young people can progressively construct their identity as a romantic partner, which will be useful to them in future intimate relationships.  

Sexual behaviour

Students learn to:

  • reflect on the importance of desire and pleasure in sexual behaviour
  • become aware of the factors that can influence sexual relations in adolescence
  • understand their position on different issues related to sexual relations in adolescence
  • become aware of factors important to sustaining emotional and sexual intimacy
 

14-15 years old:

How far can you go when you’re dating somebody?

 

Is masturbating wrong?

 

16-17 years old:

How should I react when boys hit on me?

In adolescence, initiation into active sexual life takes place progressively in an exploratory mode. Sexual behaviours with a partner for the most part occur in a romantic context.

 

STBBIs and pregnancy

Students learn to:

  • become aware of the importance of taking responsibility for their sexual and reproductive health
  • understand how protection methods work
  • be familiar with the steps to take after unprotected or poorly protected sexual relations
  • identify strategies favouring safe sexual behaviours based on factors that influence their own ability to protect themselves
  • identify the risks of STBBIs and pregnancy associated with different contexts of a sexually active lifestyle
  • reflect on the ethical issues associated with STBBIs and pregnancy
 

14-15 years old:

What do you do when a condom tears?

 

How do I tell my parents that I’m on the pill?  

 

16-17 years old:

One of my girlfriends thought she was pregnant. How could I have helped her? I felt powerless.

Adolescence is an important period of transition for learning and/or maintaining safe sexual behaviours.

 

Adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 years form one of the groups most at risk of contracting an STBBI.

Sexual Violence

Students learn to:

  • reflect on the impact of myths and prejudices about sexual assault
  • understand their own position on the notion of consent and its application in order to recognize a situation of sexual assault.
  • become aware of the active role they can play in preventing or reporting a situation of sexual assault.
  • understand the experience of people who are victims of sexual assault in order to react appropriately if a friend confides in them
 

13-14 years old:

A friend on the Internet is threatening to ruin my reputation if I don’t send him a photo of myself wearing underwear. Should I do it to make him stop?

 

14-15 years old:

When I was 8 years old, my uncle sexually abused me. Is it normal that I still feel affected by this?

Certain factors related to the psychosexual development of young people make adolescents vulnerable to sexual violence, including:

 

Curiosity about sexuality, desire for love, closeness, romance and romantic relationships, desire for acceptance, feeling of independence. All these can cause some young people to ignore safety rules, especially in the presence of their friends, whether in the real or virtual world.

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