Two secs about sex: what is it?

One of the most challenging aspects of adapting Relationships and Sex Education for those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities is the lack of an essential definition.

The curriculum defines the need for students to know about reproduction, but how often are reproduction and sex separate? Sex is not always (or, in many cases, often) about producing children. The element of sex that is for pleasure and, as it’s reverse, the element of sex that can constitute abuse, can be difficult to define.

As a loose definition, consensual sex could be considered “two people (who both want to) touching each other for pleasure”. It is a very loose definition, but does at least include all genders, sexualities and the element of consent.

In conceptualising this for young people, situational teaching is probably the best way to go about it. For example, a social story about a boy and girl having sex at a party, or a couple deciding to have sex after talking about it.

For young people with SEND, a visual representation of these situations could work best. This is difficult due to pornography laws, but is the best way for many learners to conceptualise these situations.

Offering students lots of situations that could be considered sex allows them to arrive at their own definition of what sex means for them. In most of our personal lives, there isn’t a standard definition of what this is and, if there is, it isn’t always rooted in its biological definition.

But, for education, we need that starting point to move off from.

How about you? How would you define sex in a gender neutral, easily understandable way?

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