FORUM Sexuality Education and Family Planning
In 1996, when we chose the topic of "masculinity" for the second edition of FORUM, it was a pioneering time for sex education work with boys. The booklet documents four specialist conferences, in addition to newly published books, specialist publications and booklets. The target group of "boys" was suddenly experiencing a boom.
In late 2007, the results of studies dealing with the problems, deficits and disadvantages experienced by boys were then published and widely discussed. A high proportion of boys in special schools, problems finding a first job, a lack of self-awareness, little physical contact, poor health in comparison with girls, inferior communication skills and, last but not least, a low level of education and poorer contraceptive behaviour are only some of the deficits addressed. The magazine “Schüler” featured “boys” as its lead article for its 2007 edition and “Wirtschaftswoche” also selected the topic of boys for a provocative title page in October 2007. So what has happened since this topic first came to our attention in the mid 1990s? At least one thing is certain: schools, youth welfare centres and the numerous institutions that are now involved in work with boys throughout Germany are faced with a great challenge. It is necessary to cast an eye over the experience gained in educational science over the past years and the latest research findings, and to take stock, looking beyond the public outcry about the “boys’ disaster” [Jungenkatastrophe].
We asked Uwe Sielert to provide a critical overview of this field. Professor Sielert previously introduced and analysed the programme of work with boys in FORUM 2/3-1996. Reinhard Winter, who was also a contributing author to that issue of FORUM, here reports on boys in sex education lessons at school, an area in which much fundamental work remains to be done, particularly with regard to raising the awareness of the teaching staff and improving their skills.
Michael Cremers introduces the project "New paths for boys" [Neue Wege für Jungs] and the results of the corresponding scientific evaluation. The article contributed by Susanne Eggert from the Deutsche Institut für Medienpädagogik in Forschung und Praxis [German Institute for Media Education in Research and Practice] focuses on what media boys prefer and how they use these media.
In his contribution, Olaf Jantz examines concepts of masculinity and role models held by boys from immigrant backgrounds and patterns of attitudes regarding the family, partnership and sexuality, whilst Stefan Timmermanns investigates how the education of boys can respond to the aversion and aggression that is still exhibited by many young people with regard to homosexuality.