Global Resources

Sexuality - a Super Force: Young People, Sexuality and Rights in the era of HIV/AIDS

Author: A. Runeborg
Publisher: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Publication Date: Jan 2002
"Sex is Good - Sex is Joy - Sex is Fun - Sex is Love - Sex is Power - Protected Sex is Life!" This is the message of this booklet, which argues that sexuality is natural and needed for procreation, and sexual drive is important for intimacy and pleasure. Many young people have sex during their teens, whether their parents know this or not. More open discussion of sexuality is needed, not just around the risks of sex, but also the positive sides. Messages about pleasure and choice have been found to be more effective than scare tactics in changing young people's behaviour. Masturbation, homosexuality, bisexuality are neither harmful nor sinful. Legalising abortion does not lead to more abortion. Building self esteem and teaching sex education can empower young people to make their own decisions about whether or not to have sex and how to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS and other risks. Sexuality is a policy issue due to its connections with well-being, human rights, poverty, disease, and violence. Young people's sexual rights must be supported in Poverty Reduction Strategies, health and education sector reform programmes, and sector wide approaches (SWAPs).