7 ways to educate about sex with confidence

Sexuality education is becoming a fundamental tool in supporting students. Here are some practical tips to facilitate class discussions.

Published on :


ATTENTION! The English translation is automated - Errors (sometimes hilarious!) can creep in! ;)

By Vicky Anne Fournier-Gallant, Lecturer in Sexuality Education, Université de Sherbrooke and Université du Québec à Rimouski; preschool and elementary school teacher (CS de la Région de Sherbrooke)

While pornographic images are more accessible than ever on the Web, sex education is becoming a fundamental tool in supporting students. Here are some practical tips to facilitate class discussions.

"Why educate about sexuality, they have already seen everything on the Internet". This is the kind of statement you sometimes hear in schools. To this one, I answer: “Exactly. While “porn” films are more accessible than ever, that the photos are updated to the rhythm of likes and that the fake news take up more and more space, sexuality education is essential to support young people ”.

Moreover, you may be surprised to learn that, despite the accessibility of information on the Web, research has shown [1] [2] that young people still consider school as the primary source of information. about sexuality. In addition, the effectiveness of sexuality education in terms of prevention [3] (STBBI, sexual assault, cyber assault, etc.) is well established. But how to approach it? Here are some ideas.


Before even starting a course, it is important to question ourselves about our biases, our limits, our apprehensions. This introspection will allow us to gain more control during the session, to be more authentic and even to be more open in front of the students. The climate will only be more favorable.

Mark the activity

Sexuality is a subject that interests young and old. It is also a subject that causes discomfort and therefore sometimes inappropriate or inappropriate comments. It is important to establish a clear framework for the period of sexuality education and, above all, to stick to it. Early intervention in the face of disruptive behavior helps to avoid possible slippages (rules and consequences displayed, discussions on light topics to begin with, etc.).

Be prepared

Keep in mind the guideline of the discussion. Evaluate the possible avenues. Have previously planned resources or reminders. Having these answers in hand is reassuring for you as well as for the students who only have to express themselves within this framework.

Use concrete situations

Suggest situations that affect the students. Use articles or news items to start a discussion. The fact of using elements of their daily life (e.g .: influencers, TikTok videos, fake news, etc.), will allow them to open more easily.

Support without imposing

Ask the students to give their opinion, to position themselves, to suggest possible solutions. Reformulate their remarks by adding content, avoiding moralizing sentences or those which demonstrate a hierarchy. When students feel like you are teaching a lesson, they tend to shut up. 

Use strong images to anchor an idea

Humor is often welcome when dealing with sensitive subjects such as sexuality. Sometimes using an image or a metaphor helps to integrate an idea and easily refer to it later. For example, when it comes to comments on social networks, it is possible to invite students to ask themselves the following questions before posting any content:

  • Would I wear this comment on a sweater?
  • Could I read my comment / show this video to my grandma?

Never run away from a question

If you don't know the answer, tell the student that you will come back to them with an answer later. If it is a personal matter, tell him that he does not need this information because it is a matter of your privacy, but that you are open to other questions.

Sexuality education helps equip the child, adolescent and citizen of tomorrow. It helps each young person to understand the physical transformations they are going through, to understand that what they see on social networks and on the Web in general is not always reality. In the days of Snapchat and TikTok, educating about sex helps put things in perspective.

For resources in sexuality education, Carrefour education offers you its resource directory classified according to the compulsory contents in sexuality education of the MEQ.

[1]Tanton, C., Jones, K., Macdowall, W., Clifton, S., Mitchell, K., Datta, J., Lewis, R., Field, N., Sonnenberg, P., Stevens, A., Wellings, K., Johnson, A. and Mercer, C. (2015). Patterns and trends in sources of information about sex among young people in Britain: evidence from three National surveys of sexual attitudes and lifestyles. BMJ Open, 5(3), 1-10. Document available remotely at the following address:

[2] Marchand, V. (2009). Assessment of the needs of adolescents and their foster families in matters of sexuality education. Memory. Montreal, QC: University of Quebec at Montreal, Department of Sexology. Document available remotely at the following address:

[3] European Expert Group on Sexuality Education. (2016). Sexuality education - What is it. Sex Education, 16(4), 427-431. Document available remotely at the following address:

Your comments

To comment on this topic and add your ideas, we invite you to follow us on social networks. All articles are published there and it is also possible to comment directly on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.


Do you have news to share with us or would you like to publish a testimonial?

Publicize your educational project or share your ideas via our Opinion, Testimonials or Press Releases sections! Here's how to do it!

About the Author

Collaboration spéciale
Special collaboration
École branchée broadcasts texts from actors in the educational community. You can contribute too! Take the opportunity to share your ideas, talk about an educational project experienced in class, etc. Find the details in the menu About / Submit an article.

Receive the Weekly Newsletter

Get our Info #DevProf and l'Hebdo so you don't miss out on anything new at École branchée!

You might also like: