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Progressive Sexuality Education: the conceits of secularism

Associate Professor Mary Lou Rasmussen will present Progressive Sexuality Education: The Conceits of Secularism, on Tuesday 26 August at Monash University,  Clayton Campus Rotunda (Building 8) Lecture Theatre 6.

What’s the place of religion in sexuality education in Australian public schools?

Sexuality education, a topic that continues to be a site of contestation and controversy within Australia and internationally, will be explored at the next Faculty of Education’s Dean’s Lectures Series next week.

Sexuality education is not mandatory in Australian schools and its place in education, and, in teacher education is often tenuous.

Associate Professor Mary Lou Rasmussen believes that the tenuous nature of sexuality education may partially be associated with the perception of it as hostile towards religion.

The lecture aims to draw attention to some key assumptions that frame, what Associate Professor Rasmussen terms, “progressive sexuality education”.

Some progressive preconceptions that frame sexuality education in Australian public schools include sexuality education needs to evidence based; it needs to promote sexual autonomy in order to ensure that young people are able to act as self-governing sexual subjects; it is responsible for the cultivation of tolerance of sexual and gender diversity; and, public education precludes discussion of the intersections between faith, religion and morality (such conversations should happen in private settings family, church, mosque, temple).

“Sexuality education is not neutral. The constitution of progressive sexuality education as neutral effectively plays into the hands of religious and political conservatives who seek to constitute sexuality education and public schooling as entirely devoid of religion, values and morality,” Associate Professor Rasmussen said.

“How might dropping the progressive tag, and thinking differently about the relationship between faith, cultural difference and sexuality – change contemporary imaginings of sexuality education?”

In pursuing this inquiry Associate Professor Rasmussen hopes to provoke dialogue about how sexuality education within public schools can better address values, and cultural and religious differences that necessarily inform young peoples, teachers and parents imaginings of sexuality, relationships and sexual health.

13th Asia-Oceania Federation of Sexology Conference

13th Asia-Oceania Federation of Sexology Conference

22-25 October 2014

Brisbane, Australia


The 13th AOFS Conference is the biennial meeting of the AOFS. In 2014 the conference is hosted by the Society of Australian Sexologists Ltd – Australia’s peak professional body for sexology. The AOFS Conference is a regional conference which aims to promote current research in sexology, especially where sexuality and sexual health intersect, including sex therapy and sexuality education. This will be the first time that the conference will be held in Australia.

The conference theme is From Podium to Practice and will feature international speakers. The conference program will be of interest to Clinicians, Family Physicians, Specialists, Practice Nurses Psychologists, Counsellors, Physiotherapists, Sex Therapists, Relationship Therapists and students in this fields of sex, sexuality and sexology.

The conference program explores issues of sex and sexuality. The 2014 Conference will cover:

  • Women’s and Men’s sexuality;
  • LGBTIQ sexuality;
  • AOFS-regional WAS Youth Roundtable;
  • Sexuality and issues of armed services personnel;
  • The impact of assisted reproductive technology and infertility on sexual wellbeing;
  • Sexuality education; and
  • Obesity and its impact on sexual health and wellbeing

As part of the pre-conference program two workshops will be offered. Professor Kevan Wiley will present a workshop on Small Penis Syndrome and Sex Therapy and Dr Alex Kamnerdsiri is offering professional development workshop on working with service personnel with sexual difficulties resulting from or exacerbated by their service activity.

The AOFS2014 conference is an opportunity for professionals from Australian and the Asia-Pacific region to network. It is expected that sexologists and people working in fields that intersect with sexuality and sexual health from all over the Asia Pacific region will attend this meeting.

The Asia-Oceania Federation of Sexology is the regional peak body and representative arm of the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS), and has member organisations from Australia, Korea, Indonesia, China, Hong Kong – China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. The organisation also permits individual memberships.

The Society of Australian Sexologists Ltd is the peak professional association for sex therapists, sexuality educators and other professionals working in the field of sexology. The Society of Australian Sexologists accredits professionals working in the field of sexology.

The AOFS/SAS Organising Committee looks forward to welcoming you.

Further information: http://www.aofs-asia.org/conference-2014/conference