Redefining Sex Education

Faye Turner, Group Strategy Director

We help our audiences ‘get more out of life.’

But what about our future audiences?  

We know we have a role to play in positively supporting younger generations as they approach adulthood, especially where a lack of guidance now will directly impact the issues our editors are faced with writing in the future. 

Farrah Storr, our Editor-in-Chief at Cosmopolitan, acknowledged the role the brand could play in young people’s lives to help educate them on the topic of sex, sexual health, relationships and consent.  Teenagers today are exposed to more sexual content than ever before, with schools ill-preparing them for the current realities of life.  Concerningly this wasn’t going to change anytime soon when 76% of teachers didn’t feel well-resourced enough to teach sex education to the pupils they were entrusted to inform, and 50% lacking the confidence to do so.  

So two of our highly respected brands, with a wealth of expertise on sex, health and relationships; Cosmopolitan and Men’s Health, stepped in.  Farrah Storr and Toby Wiseman’s teams created and piloted a sex education programme in 8 academy schools in 2018 to 500 year 10 pupils, consisting of a 6-week lesson plan, teacher training and a fantastic booklet packed with information and advice for students to keep. Whilst Men’s Health wrote the male content and Cosmopolitan the female, we believed it important to not restrict the boys or girls from having visibility of all the content for their opposite sex, so we devised it as a flipbook.  

Results were overwhelmingly positive with 100% of teachers and 73% of students saying they would recommend the course is taught in other schools, which is what we’re doing in 2019!

What’s more, teachers are more confident to teach the topic and these teenagers note they will take positive actions as a result, such as respect others more, talk to others if worried about sexual health and think about how their behaviour affects others. 

A better education for a better future, that’s just one way we are helping our (future) audiences to ‘get more out of life’ in a purpose-led way.