To learn about sex, teenagers prefer the Internet to school

Find out about contraception, pleasure or intimacy: in the often absence of sufficient information sessions at school, although provided for by law, teenagers turn to the Internet and sometimes pornography to learn about sexuality.

Since 2001, the law provides that “information and sex education is provided in schools, colleges and high schools for at least three annual sessions”. However, as underlined by a survey carried out by the feminist collective #NousToutes with more than 10,000 people, published at the beginning of the year, this obligation is “absolutely not applied”. Respondents say they have benefited “on average only 13%” of the number of sessions planned, ie 2.7 instead of 21 for the whole of the schooling.

“The teachers are not trained”

“There are no planned slots” and “the teachers are not trained”, explains Diane Richard, member of the collective, for whom the courses are “very oriented biology” and little on “emotional relationships”. In fact, these interventions often come down to teachers SVT (Life and Earth Sciences), school nurses, family planning workers or other associations.

But the equation is difficult. “We have less and less institutionalized time”, to talk about it in parallel with the programs, deplores David Boudeau, president of the APBG (Association of Biology-Geology Teachers) and SVT teacher. Same story on the side of nurses. “It was already insufficient before, but with the health crisis, there is a whole generation for whom it is a problem” because “what was stripped in school was health education” , notes Saphia Guereschi, general secretary of Snics-FSU, the majority union of school nurses.

However, for her, these sessions are “essential”. “Young people really need to have access to simple and reassuring health education,” she considers. “Talking about your own sexuality or your questions to your parents is very difficult”.


How to flirt? What are the signs of sexual pleasure? Questions difficult to verbalize. To find answers, most teenagers explore the Internet on their smartphones, see health professionals and associations. Forums, specialized sites or Instagram accounts like “You enjoyed” and “I don’t give a fuck about the clit”: the resources are multiple, of varying quality.

As a result, “teenagers are very informed but not always well informed, you have to sort it out,” says Sarah Durocher, co-president of Family Planning, which operates in 3,000 establishments a year. “These spaces that we create, where they can ask what information they have had, question it and criticize it, it’s very important”.

The men featured

Boys and girls also turn to pornography, easily accessible on the Internet, although the penal code prohibits exposing minors to this type of image. Several sites have recently been ordered to comply with the law. And, justice will examine on May 24 the total blocking of five of them, who did not react to this injunction.

For the clinical psychologist, Béatrice Copper-Royer, the pornography returns to adolescents a “very reductive” vision of sexuality, “based on performance” and the submission of women. “The girls have the impression that they have to bend to these dogmas, they are often far from their desires, it is worrying”. The feminist association En Avant Tout(s) makes a similar observation. “As there are no benchmarks, no models of healthy sexuality, young people do not know what is normal or not”, describes its spokesperson Louise Delavier.

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To learn about sex, teenagers prefer the Internet to school

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