Sex Ed Dads: what Australian fathers want their teens to know about relationships and sexuality
Thomas, Katy and Patterson, K and Nash, R and Swabey, K, Sex Ed Dads: what Australian fathers want their teens to know about relationships and sexuality, Sex Education pp. 1-18. ISSN 1468-1811 (2021) [Refereed Article]
This article reports on the findings of a quantitative online survey investigating Australian fathers’ perspectives on communicating with their children about relationships and sexuality. A diverse sample of 612 Australian fathers of children aged 3 to 12 years completed the Sex Ed Dads survey, sharing their views on sexuality education and their role within it. Here, we discuss the relationships and sexuality-related outcomes fathers say they will value for their children during the teen years. We argue that contrary to assumptions perpetuated by the media, the outcomes Australian fathers value most reflect modern and holistic understandings of relationships and sexuality. The study found that fathers’ top priorities for their teenage children were their capacity to avoid violent relationships, understand consent, and recognise and report sexual abuse, while their lowest priorities were delaying sex until marriage, and avoiding pornography. A slightly elevated level of concern for daughters compared to sons was evident in the data, and religious status was the socio-demographic characteristic responsible for most of the significant differences found. The findings offer insights for media, as well as schools, resource developers, and sexuality education providers seeking to support the increased engagement of fathers in sexuality education.
relationships, sexuality, parent–child communication, father, sexuality education, young children, Australia