Sex and Relationships Education: research

Between January and April 2017, Sexplain has run focus groups with young people across the UK to find out their thoughts about sex, relationships and SRE.

Their answers to some of our questions have been turned into 'wordclouds', pictured below. For the full documentation of our findings, see here.

We have used these thoughts to inform our programmes. We have also used ideas gathered at our 'Fantasy Sex Ed' event at the Science Museum in collaboration with Fumble.

Our approach is also informed by research conducted by Bristol University on best practise in sex and relationships education. For example:

  • Staff delivering SRE should be trained educators, have expertise in sexual health, be sex-positive and enthusiastic about delivering SRE. 1
  • One of [secondary school pupils'] key messages is that they would prefer not to have SRE delivered by familiar teachers. This is not just because they believe their teachers will be embarrassed or lack expertise, but also because they feel that it could blur boundaries and introduce awkwardness into the teacher-pupil relationship. 2
  • Schools appear to have difficulty accepting that some young people are sexually active, leading to SRE that is out of touch with many young people’s lives. Young people report that SRE can be negative, gendered and heterosexist. 3