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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Simon Forrest

Forrest, S. (2000). ‘Big and Tough’ Boys learning about sexuality and manhood. Sexual Relationships Therapy 15(3): 247-261.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper explores adolescent boys" reactions to, and experiences of, school-based sex education. Using data and findings from a range of studies, it describes dominant patterns of response, and posits reasons for boys" frequent rejection and disruption of lessons. The relationship between bodily size and social capital and hierarchies of masculine sexual power and status is addressed. Evidence is presented which demonstrates that bravado and disruption are reactions to sex education which fails to address boys" needs. We need to create learning environments in which they can at least temporarily put to one side the need to behave in rigid sex-stereotypical ways.