When it comes to sex education, body-related issues and topics are the first that come to mind, but they are also the ones that could raise the most concern.

Sex education should treat sexual development as a normal, natural part of human development: learning to freely talk about it protects young people’s pshysical and mental health throughout their lives.

Respecting young people’s right of access to information empowers them to make informed decisions about relationships and sexuality and to understand their own bodies without shame and judgement, by respecting the differences that define each of us[1].

Not only should the basics of puberty and development be taught, but sex education should also help young young people understand that they have the right to decide what behaviours they engage in.

We dedicated this chapter to the topics of embodied self-awareness and of respecting one another’s differences to overcome shame and judgement.


  • By learning that everyone has a unique body that deserves respect, regardless of their gender expression, race, ability, age and that people’s feelings about their bodies can affect their health, self-image, and behaviour.
  • By knowing that it is natural to be curious about the functions of one’s body, including the sexual and reproductive organs.
  • By understanding that all cultures have different ways of understanding sex, gender, and reproduction[2].

[1] Sexuality Education, Advocates for Youth, https://www.advocatesforyouth.org/resources/fact-sheets/sexuality-education-2/

[2] International technical guidance on sexuality education: an evidence-informed approach, UNESCO, https://www.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub-pdf/ITGSE.pdf