Cultural Diversity and Sexuality Education

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The idea that sexuality education needs to more adequately speak to the broad range of religious and cultural diversities in classrooms is long established in the literature (Allen, 2021; Haggis & Mulholland, 2014; Mukoro, 2017, 2022; Sanjakdar, 2018). While some approaches focus narrowly on biologically related topics around sexual and reproductive health, the recently popular comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) presents a more “holistic” exploration of topics related to how sexual practices are shaped, understood, and expressed. Whatever the approach, sexuality education in its various forms has come under sustained criticism for overlooking religious and cultural interpretations of biological and health processes (such as religious practices around menstruation) and, more particularly, differing interpretations of sexual practices and relationships (such as different views on what “consent” and “‘respect” might mean) (Allen, 2021). In addition, pedagogical approaches have also been critiqued on the grounds that many young people do not see their cultural or religious backgrounds reflected in the examples and scenarios used in class, nor do they always feel “safe” to express their views and experiences for fear that they will be misunderstood or othered (Allen, 2021; Mulholland et al., 2021).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Encyclopedia of Sexuality Education
EditorsLouisa Allen, Mary Lou Rasmussen
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-95352-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-95352-2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • cultural diversity
  • sexuality education
  • religious interpretations
  • cultural interpretations


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