Sexpression:UK – Relationship and Sex Education
Sexpression:UK was created to empower young people to make informed decisions about sex and relationships by providing them with comprehensive Relationship and Sex Education (RSE). It was set up to not only educate and empower young people, but also for university students, who can participate in their local Sexpression branch both as volunteer “near-peer educators” and as society members, who can to attend informative sex and relationship-related workshops and events. Sexpression:UK was conceived from an ‘exploratory’ sex education workshop for medical students at University College London in 2000 and is now in its 20th year. It has now expanded its mission and impact to over twenty five branches at various UK universities, and has been a registered charity in Scotland since 2017, and in England and Wales since 2016.
Sexpression regards RSE as crucial both to transforming the lives of women and educating and challenging students when considering dynamics in sex and relationships. Sexpression believes that consistent and well-rounded RSE is central to preventing abuse and gender-based violence while also empowering young people to set healthy boundaries and expectations in their personal lives. Therefore, one of its main goals is to provide a diverse, inclusive, and comprehensive RSE curriculum that specifically acknowledges women’s issues. RSE provides students with the tools to understand and recognise signs of abuse and harmful power dynamics. It is also integral to supporting women’s health issues. This why Sexpression’s lessons cover practical issues, such as contraception, pregnancy, and family planning, as well as encouraging female empowerment in making choices about sex, relationships, and reproductive health. Sexpression’s lessons come from an awareness that these issues are experienced differently by the trans community and therefore this is also considered in the education provided to young people.
Sexpression believes it is important to take an intersectional approach to feminism and gender issues, which includes trans and non-binary people. As such, it provides gender-inclusive sex education that normalizes the use of gender-neutral terms for body parts and brings LGBTQ+ experiences into its lessons. Sexpression aims for young people, regardless of their gender identity, to feel empowered to have honest and educated conversations about their bodies, sex, and consent.
Based on our central aims of inclusive and empowering RSE, Sexpression branches have developed a diverse range of lessons to achieve these aims. These lessons include body image, healthy and unhealthy relationships, pornography, consent, gender and sexuality, STIs, and pleasure. We are committed to updating these lessons regularly and creating new ones, such as sex and media, to provide the most up-to-date, impactful lessons possible. Sexpression is welcoming and adapting to the changes in statutory RSE in Scotland coming next year, and is especially excited about Scotland’s decision to require the teaching of LGBTQ+ rights in schools. We are committed to continuing to adapt our lessons to be as inclusive and informative as possible about the LGBTQ+ community.
In order to both comply with Scottish law and provide a safe and inclusive space for students, Sexpression delivers Child Protection training to all of its volunteers. This training helps volunteers to recognise signs of mistreatment and abuse in order to protect children’s well-being when discussing sensitive but important topics, and ensures all our volunteers follow an appropriate incident reporting procedure.
In 2019/2020, Scottish Sexpression branches trained 164 volunteers, who together reached over 500 young people in schools and youth groups across Scotland. When surveyed after sessions, 69% of young people agreeing they had learnt something, and 83% said the session was delivered well.
If you would like more information on this organization or would like to donate, please visit the Sexpression:UK website. If you are interested in participating in Sexpression as a volunteer, a society member, or as a school wanting to receive lessons, please email the branch applicable to you.
Find out more about Sexpression:UK: Website: https://sexpression.org.uk/
Facebook: Sexpression Aberdeen
Facebook: Sexpression Glasgow
Facebook: Sexpression Edinburgh
Facebook: Sexpression St Andrews