A Reconceptualization of Sex Education: Using Social Emotional Learning to Teach Romantic Relationship Concepts

In response to the continued physical, psychological, relational, and cultural problems that result from sexual and romantic relationships, adjustments must be made to the ways in which young people are educated about relationships. the current sex education models are ineffective in improving broader relational contexts of sexual relationships and youth as young as twelve and thirteen are experiencing negative effects. Looked at through an ecosystemic lens, research on young adult sexual and relational behaviors, development, and education establish needed areas of improvement for sex education. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) programs, however, provide a supplemental alternative to sex education, as they educate children and teenagers about themselves as social and emotional people. SEL equips students with the skills and mindsets necessary to create and participate in healthy social and romantic relationships. SEL also provides a more palatable expression of relationships education in religious schools and can be delivered by school counselors to alleviate the pressure on classroom teachers.

Nicolette A. Williams
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