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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Sex Education

For a Special Issue on
The politics of age in sex and sexuality education for children and young people

Abstract deadline
10 June 2022

Manuscript deadline
14 February 2023

Cover image - Sex Education

Special Issue Editor(s)

Kerry H. Robinson, Western Sydney University, Australia
[email protected]

Jenny Bengtsson, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
[email protected]

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The politics of age in sex and sexuality education for children and young people

This special issue of Sex Education journal addresses resonances, tensions and conflicts associated with age, childhood, and children’s and young people’s engagement in sex and sexuality education (includes broad understandings of sex and sexuality education including sexual health education, genders and sexualities education, health and wellbeing education, and holistic sexuality education).

Internationally, children’s and young people’s access to sexuality education and the form it might take are often discussed in terms of age appropriateness, risk and cultural values related to sexuality. As a result, discourses and practices associated with sex and sexuality education produce children as political objects that are subject to differing interests. Age, despite often being considered a generic, numerical and objective category, is pivotal to what is taught in sexuality education, how it is taught, when it is taught, and who teaches it.

As a fundamentally political field, sexuality education is riddled with tensions and contradictions, encompassing the ever-pervasive concept of childhood innocence, the need to ‘protect’ the vulnerable child, as well as notions of children's rights to knowledge and sexual subjectivity. Challenged and deconstructed in various ways, not least in relation to time and place, the symbolic figure of the innocent cisgender heterosexual (not yet but becoming) child, is central to the constitution of normative childhoods and the perception that sexual and sexuality knowledge is irrelevant and/or dangerous for children.

Advancing post-developmental perspectives on age, deconstructing child-adult binaries, and challenging the notion of development on which psycho-social scientific theories of childhood depend, are important in enhancing children’s and young people’s access to good quality holistic sexuality education. Children’s and young people’s access to education about sex, sexuality and relationships is both a social justice and children’s rights issue. At the same time, could arguments for children’s rights that reiterate certain norms and values as universal and good for all – recreate children as a unified non-diverse category?

Delivered in safe, open, and supportive environments by educators and health experts, sexuality education has positive and life-long health and wellbeing benefits for young people. The international Global Childhoods: Sexualities, Gender, and Age network, of which the guest editors and guest editorial team are members, invite papers (7000 words maximum) on topics that address the political and contested aspects of age, sex and sexuality education in present and past times, and in different places and contexts.

We invite papers that use age, as pertaining to childhood and youth, as a lens to explore sex and sexuality education initiatives and practices, with a special focus on how this affects the rights, subjectivities and agencies of children and young people.

We are keen to receive theoretical and empirical papers that critically explore the intersections of sexuality, childhood and age in sex and sexuality education ‘texts’ (e.g. policy, curriculum/syllabus, different media, debates about sexuality education); in classroom practices; and in non-school based sexuality education contexts (e.g. parental approaches to imparting sexuality knowledge to children within the home). We seek contributions from different parts of the world, focusing on local contexts, as well as transnational issues and debates.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Age in relation to politics of children’s sex and sexuality education in different contexts: e.g., geographical locations, cultural diversity, religiosity, historical time frames, and intergenerational experiences.
  • Sex and sexuality education: ‘global’ & national policies, curricula, and human rights (e.g. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Technical Guidance and Advocacy, UNESCO, UNFPA and WHO)
  • Sex and sexuality education pedagogies /approaches in the early years: children’s and young people’s perspectives on sex and sexuality education;
  • Private and public discourses on sex and sexuality education – perceived roles and responsibilities of families/home, preschool/school/ and communities;
  • Post-colonial critiques of representations of childhood, childhood innocence, and sex and sexuality education;
  • Intersections of age, genders, sexualities, (dis)ability, ethnicity, in relation to sex and sexuality education; and
  • Social/digital media as risk and/or resource in relation to children’s access to sexual knowledge.

Submission Instructions

Authors may wish to submit an abstract for brief comment by the guest editors. However, review is not a required part of the process but may be helpful to those seeking early feedback on a paper idea. The deadline for submission of abstracts for feedback is 10th June 2022. Feedback on abstracts will be given by 30th July 2022.

Abstracts should be no more than 300 words to be sent to the guest co-editors Kerry Robinson ([email protected]) and Jenny Bengtsson ([email protected])

The deadline for submission of full papers is February 14th 2023.

Manuscripts should follow Sex Education journal’s usual formatting guidelines, which are available at (https://www.tandfonline.com/action/authorSubmission?show=instructions&journalCode=csed20).

Papers must not exceed 7000 words, inclusive of the abstract, tables, references, notes and figure captions.

All papers will be subjected to peer reviewed in the usual way.

Please submit your papers through the journal’s online submission and review site:

When you submit, please mark your paper clearly for consideration for inclusion in the special issue: Politics of Age in Sex and Sexuality Education for Children and Young People

General enquiries about the journal can be emailed to the journal’s editor-in-chief, Peter Aggleton ([email protected]) or to the journal administrator, Fiona Thirlwell ([email protected])

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

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