Sexuality encompasses a theme frequently and openly dealt with in books, reviews, magazines and other modes of social communication. However, finding resources on sexual ethics and how to effectively teach it can be problematic. Sexual ethics explores the moral obligation, acceptability and taboo nature of sexual behavior. Kohlberg found that a person’s ability to deal with moral issues is not formed all at once. Just as there are stages of growth in physical development, the ability to think morally also develops in stages.
In order to effectively teach sexual ethics effectively, educators must incorporate a worldview framework that respects participants’ cultural heritage and values as well as exploring socioeconomic, spiritual and religious diversity. Carmody argues that educators need an alternative conception of sexual ethics in order to consider how desire, acts and pleasure could be understood from an ethical perspective. In order to teach this alternative conception of sexual ethics, acknowledgment and reflection on theoretical foundations is necessary. Educators can accomplish this by encouraging students to explore different ethical framework. After exploring the different theoretical frameworks, Kolb suggests that participants answer two fundamental questions; on what do we base our ethical standards? How do those standards get applied to specific situations we face? Ethical theories can provide direction and perspective for ethical decisions. Once the foundation (ethical framework) is laid, the educator can then assist the students in scaffolding. The role of the educator then becomes facilitator.
What’s an example of an educational tool that can help do all of that?
Hooking up, online dating, kink, non-monogamy, consent and sexual assault … sexual landscape has changed, therefore educators must be relevant when teaching about sexual ethics. When teaching ethics, case studies can be a valuable resource. Experts say that when using case studies to teach, it is most effective to use studies to which the students can relate. Case studies create a conflict within the students’ minds. By choosing a problem to which the students can relate, you create an active learning environment, which is also a successful one. Narratives, according to Menkel-Meadow allow participants access into the subjective experiences of others, as well as demonstrating the consequences of decision making and action. Using a small group format may allow participants to assert their opinions more freely than if they were in a class discussion. Educators can also utilize discussion board with established guidelines for acceptable and unacceptable posts.