Age-appropriate education programs that address the biological, sociocultural, psychological and spiritual aspects of human sexuality. Topics may include an introduction to the nature of sexuality and the process of reproduction; male and female anatomy; the function of hormones; the menstrual cycle; pregnancy; contraception and contraception options including abstinence, barrier methods, fertility awareness methods and hormonal methods; facts regarding contraception effectiveness; abortion and abortion methods; sterilization options; reproductive health including menstrual irregularities and typical causes, sexually transmitted disease/HIV and infertility; menopause; dating; marriage; responsible and caring sexual relationships; interpersonal skills; self-esteem; intimacy; body image; gender roles; and homosexuality. Not all programs address all topics.
Programs targeting school-age children that are designed to delay the onset of sexual activity until the individual is married and thus reduce the incidence of adolescent pregnancy, STD transmission, and HIV/AIDS. Most programs address the benefits of sexual abstinence and promote the concepts that abstinence until marriage and mutual monogamous relationships during marriage are expected standards, that contrary behaviour is likely to have harmful physical and psychological effects, that bearing children out of wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences for all, that abstinence is the only certain way to avoid pregnancy and related health problems, and that alcohol and drug use increase vulnerability to sexual advances. Abstinence education programs are offered by a variety of organizations including the schools, religious groups and agencies that serve youth; vary in format, some providing educational classes, others individual sessions; and may include role play components or other devices which help children learn and practice ways to reject sexual overtures.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.