Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2010 Issue »

    Toward a Sexual Ethics Curriculum

    Bringing Philosophy and Society to Bear on Individual Development

    Sharon Lamb
    For over a decade, battles have raged between conservative Abstinence Only Until Marriage (AOUM) sexuality education advocates and liberal Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) advocates. While these battles have focused on the inclusion of health information about contraception and whether or not a curriculum must advocate abstinence as the best and only method to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, these debates have often ignored other important values about sex. In this article, Sharon Lamb reviews the recent history of these sexuality education battles, criticizes both AOUM and CSE curricula, and discusses how, in CSE’s accommodation to AOUM objections, ethical dimensions of sex education may have been neglected in favor of evidence-based practice. She then suggests ways in which the current curricula could teach ethical reasoning and make sex education a form of citizenship education, focusing on justice, equity, and caring for the other person as well as the self.

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    Sharon Lamb is Distinguished Professor of Mental Health in the Department of Counseling and School Psychology in the Graduate College of Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is president-elect of the Association for Moral Education and is currently working on a sexual ethics curriculum for high school students. Her recent work includes an article, “The Problem with Feminist Ideals for a Healthy Female Adolescent Sexuality,” published in Sex Roles, and a chapter on the same topic in The Sexualization of Girls and Girlhood (Zurbriggen & Roberts, at press). In addition to authoring books on sexual development, therapy with children and adolescents around sexual issues, and abuse and victimization, she coauthored the 2007 APA Task Force Report on the sexualization of girls and two books on media and marketing effects on girls’ and boys’ development: Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers’ Schemes (2006, with Lyn Mikel Brown) and Packaging Boyhood: Saving our Sons from Superheroes, Slackers, and Other Media Stereotypes (2009, with Lyn Mikel Brown and Mark Tappan). She earned her doctorate from Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she worked with Jerome Kagan, Rachel Hare-Mustin, and Carol Gilligan.
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    Spring 2010 Issue

    Abstracts

    Symposium
    Black Women on Education: Complicating Identity and Negotiating Kinship
    Passin’ for Black
    Race, Identity, and Bone Memory in Postracial America
    Signithia Fordham
    From Candy Girls to Cyber Sista-Cipher
    Narrating Black Females’ Color-Consciousness and Counterstories in and out of School
    Carmen Kynard
    Postrace
    Every Good-bye Ain’t Gone
    Iris Carter Ford
    Branching Out and Coming Back Together
    Exploring the Undergraduate Experiences of Young Black Women: A Conversation with Victoria James, Imani Marrero, and Darleen Underwood
    Chantal Francois
    Teaching That Breaks Your Heart
    Reflections on the Soul Wounds of a First-Year Latina Teacher
    Juan F. Carrillo
    Toward a Sexual Ethics Curriculum
    Bringing Philosophy and Society to Bear on Individual Development
    Sharon Lamb
    Unfair Treatment?
    The Case of Freedle, the SAT, and the Standardization Approach to Differential Item Functioning
    Maria Veronica Santelices and Mark Wilson

    Book Notes

    Straightlaced
    by Debra Chasnoff (director, producer) and Sue Chen (producer)

    How It’s Being Done
    by Karin Chenoweth

    Preschool in Three Cultures Revisited
    by Joseph Tobin, Yeh Hsueh, and Mayumi Karasawa