Over the past 20 years, the USA has seen more than its fair share of controversy with respect to education about sexuality, sex and intimate relationships. Attention has focused on content (abstinence-only vs. comprehensive instruction), delivery (by teachers, parents, health professionals or community educators) and context (within school and beyond). In recognition of this fact, Sex Education invited the development of a virtual special issue comprising a sample of its most impactful papers on these and related topics. The 2016 Presidential election results and recent legislative action in the USA point to the importance of thinking broadly about teaching and learning about sexuality inside and outside of schools and of considering sexuality as it intersects with categories of difference, privilege and penalty, including ability, age, immigration, race, gender and class. This paper, developed as an introduction to the virtual special issue, opens with a discussion of the journal’s contributions to the ongoing discussion of pleasure and desire in sexuality education. From there, the authors turn to the question of what is possible given the material and ideological conditions of schooling and then to opportunities for teachers and learners outside the conventional classroom. They follow with a discussion of the place of intersectional analyses in sexuality education research, and conclude with some thoughts on sexuality education research at this political moment.
Sex Education, 17:4, 471-481
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