Sexual Ideology and Schooling

Towards Democratic Sexuality Education

By Alexander McKay

Subjects: Curriculum
Paperback : 9780791445242, 214 pages, November 1999
Hardcover : 9780791445235, 214 pages, November 1999

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Table of contents




1. Sexuality and Sexuality Education: Implications For the Nature of Society


Sexuality and the Nature of Society
Sexuality Education


2. Restrictive and Permissive Sexual Ideologies


Restrictive Sexual Ideology
Permissive Sexual Ideology


3. Sexual Ideology in the Schools


The Influence of Restrictive Sexual Ideology on Sexual Education
The Influence of Permissive Sexual Ideology on Sexuality Education
The Bare-Bones Approach to Sexuality Education in the Schools


4. Discovering the Truth about Sexuality


Can We Discover the Truth about Sexuality?
Implications for Contemporary Sexuality Education


5. Sexuality, Moral Pluralism, and the Concept of Liberal Democracy


Political Liberalism


6. Sexuality Education: Towards Democracy


The Meaning of Democratic Education
Conclusion: Implications for Teaching and Learning


7. A Democratic Approach to Key Issues in Sexuality Education: Sexual Orientation, Gender Equality, and Unwanted Pregnancy/STD Prevention


Addressing the Issue of Sexual Orientation
Promoting Gender Equality Through Sexuality Education
Addressing the Issue of Pregnancy/STD Prevention


Conclusion: Sexuality Education and Social Justice



Presents a comprehensive analysis of the debates surrounding sexuality education in the schools and examines their implications for the content of educational programs.


Sexuality education in the schools has become a key battleground in the wider social conflict over the sexual norms of Western culture. In Sexual Ideology and Schooling, Alexander McKay conceptualizes the sexuality debates as a battle between two basic but diametrically opposed belief systems about the nature and purpose of sexuality in human life and society—Restrictive and Permissive. He outlines the philosophical/moral foundations of a democratic approach to teaching young people about sexuality and persuasively argues that public institutions, including the schools, should base public policy related to sexuality on democratic principles rather than the dictates of sexual ideology.

Alexander McKay is Research Coordinator for the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada and Associate Editor of The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality.


"Sexual Ideology and Schooling is well written and the scholarship is not only sound, but also outstanding. McKay clearly knows the subject and has used numerous excellent resources to make it a very strong book. Everyone involved in sexuality education should read this book. " — Clint E. Bruess, coauthor of Sexuality Education: Theory and Practice

"Alexander McKay does an excellent job of providing concise and integrated overviews of several philosophical approaches to sexuality. His purpose is clearly outlined, the argument is generally easy to follow, and he makes a compelling argument for a democratic approach to sexuality. Overall, what I like most about the book is the subject—this book represents exactly the issues that ought to be at the center of our discussions/debates concerning sexuality education. " — Constance M. Yowell, University of Illinois–Chicago