Research to support sexuality & relationships education

Regular research focusing on the sexual worlds of young people and the sexuality and relationships educational experiences of teachers together provide an essential platform for the introduction of a sexuality and relationships curriculum (Mitchell et al., 2011).

FPQ has produced evidence briefings which draw on current research and can be used to support teaching practice. Download them here:

  1. Young people’s views on sexuality and relationships education in schools
  2. Parents’ views on sexuality and relationships education
  3. Supporting teachers to deliver sexuality and relationships education
  4. A rationale for providing sexuality and relationships education for students with a disability

Dr Deana Leahy and Dr Louise McCuaig’s Scoping Paper, Supporting teachers to teach relationships and sexuality education (RSE): FPQ workforce development project, analyses new data to inform workforce development strategies to improve the provision of RSE in schools.

  • Supporting teachers to teach relationships & sexuality education (RSE): Family Planning Queensland workforce development project Scoping Paper
  • Supporting teachers to teach relationships & sexuality education (RSE): Family Planning Queensland workforce development project Executive Summary
The research reveals that Australian young people in secondary schools are generally sexually experienced and need SRE to take account of their lives here and now. Much of the research suggests sexuality and relationships education has been shown to have a positive effect on behaviour, delaying the onset of sexual activity and increasing the adoption of safer sex practices (Senderowitz & Kirby, 2006).
The National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health 2013 (Mitchell, Patrick, Heywood, Blackman & Pitts, 2014) reported the following information about young people’s sexual behaviour:
  • Almost one quarter of Year 10 students (23%), one third of Year 11 students (34% and half of Year 12 students (50%) had experienced sexual intercourse
  • Around 40% of students had experienced oral sex
  • 59% of sexually active students reported using a condom the last time they had sex
  • 13% reported using no contraception the last time they had sex; while 15% used withdrawal
  • Almost a quarter of sexually active students (23%) had sex with three or more people in the past year
  • One in eight (12%) of sexually active young men and 5% of sexually active young women reported their most recent sexual encounter was with someone of the same sex. 
  • Most sexually active students report positive feelings after having sex

Read the full report:  Results of the 5th National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health


Family Planning Queensland. (2001). Every body needs to know: A sexual and reproductive health education resource for teaching people with a disability. Brisbane: Family Planning Queensland.

Mitchell A, Patrick K, Heywood W, Blackman P & Pitts M. (2014). 5th National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health, Monograph Series No. 97. Melbourne: La Trobe University, the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society.

Senderowitz, J. & Kirby, D. (2006). Standards for curriculum-based reproductive health and HIV education programs. USA: Family Health International.

World Health Organisation (2003). Very young adolescents: The hidden young people. Technical meeting on 10-14 year olds. Held at World Health Organisation, Geneva, 29 April-2 May 2003. Retrieved on 19 December, 2011  from


Sexual Health
An interdisciplinary journal of sexual health including HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections.

The American Journal of Sexuality Education
This journal caters to the distinct, professional needs of sexuality educators and trainers. This peer reviewed journal provides sexuality educators and trainers with current research about sexuality education programming, best practices, sample lesson plans, reports on curriculum development and assessment, literature reviews, scholarly commentary, educational program reports, media reviews (books, videos, internet resources, and curricula), and letters to the editor.

Sex Education – Sexuality, Society and Learning
Sex Education is an international peer refereed journal concerned both with the practice of sex education and with the thinking that underpins it. 

Education Today
The magazine for education professionals. 4 issues per year.