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Fixers Investigates: The Trouble with Sex in Schools

Our research with young people aged over 16 has found that sexualised behaviour is the new social norm in young people’s daily lives and adults and institutions need to ‘face up to it’.

In school corridors and playgrounds, sexually charged behaviour drives young people’s physical interactions and permeates through to their 24-hour-a-day life online.
They’re feeling pressurised into having sex otherwise they’re branded ‘frigid’ by their peers; there is a sense that boys have an ‘entitlement’ to girls and some report being ‘bullied for being a virgin.’

Young people told us that ‘sexting’, the sharing of sexualised images, is common-place. As long as it remains a private exchange and is not entered into before they are ready, young people do not question sexting as being part of a safe, healthy relationship.

Problems occur, they report, where they feel pushed into sending a sexual image too early in a relationship or when they’re too young - or the image gets into the wrong hands and is used against them.

That can escalate to bullying – in the physical and digital world – and blackmail, dropping out of school and suicidal thoughts.

Such actions are invariably dismissed amongst young people ‘as banter’ and the consequences as having been ‘brought on themselves’.