Death To Condoms On Bananas: What Teens Actually Want From Sex Ed

Put the fruit DOWN.
87% of teens in the UK want better sex ed
J Studios via Getty Images
87% of teens in the UK want better sex ed

If you’ve had sex education in the UK, the above image might look familiar. Yup, there’s nothing quite like rolling a condom onto a banana, cucumber or fake penis in front of your teenage peers in school to really make sex ed awkward.

Now, in 2023, teenagers have said enough is enough, with new data showing that a massive 87% of Gen Zs (someone who was born between the late 1990s and the early 2010s) want better and more inclusive sex education.

A recent survey of 1,600 UK Gen Zs by the top-rated student discount app, Student Beans, found that 39% did not feel represented in the sex education they received.

And it’s not just in sex education – the young people surveyed also did not feel represented in porn (49%), TV shows and movies (42%), and in dating advice in the media (34%).

Worryingly, 27% of girls surveyed said they do not feel comfortable setting and communicating boundaries with their partner (compared to 23% of men).

Another Student Beans survey of 500 UK Gen Z’s found that 39% of participants were never taught about responding to pressures to have sex, how to access PrEP, and contraception in non-heterosexual relationships, amongst other important topics

89% did not see LGBTQIA+ themes woven throughout all teachings, making it unsurprising that 87% of respondents believe schools sex ed needs to be more inclusive.

Gen Z has the highest percentage of non-straight people, almost double that of Millennials and triple of Boomers, proving the increasing importance of diverse and inclusive sex education.

Jordan, a bisexual student at Manchester Met University, told Student Beans:

“My school never really mentioned anything about LGBT in sex ed – they just mentioned the risks such as AIDS and HIV and mainly portrayed it in a bad light. They didn’t provide the correct knowledge about PrEP and where to access it.

“At the time I felt lost, and had to go to the internet for answers which, let’s be honest, sometimes doesn’t give the most accurate information. But when I tried to ask my school about it, they said how do you know if you are gay yet, you’re too young.”

Government social research previously found there are clear benefits of correct and inclusive sex education amongst young people – it’s time we up the game again.