chapter  10
17 Pages

Pleasure’s Perils? Critically Refl ecting on Pleasure’s Inclusion in Sexuality Education


Like other critical sexuality education researchers, I have advocated for the inclusion of ‘pleasure’ in sexuality education (Allen, 2004, 2005a, 2005b). My campaign commenced twelve years ago when I argued for closing sexuality education’s knowledge/practice ‘gap’ with the inclusion of a discourse of erotics (Allen, 2001). More recently, I have suggested the importance of acknowledging young people as sexual subjects who are viewed as legitimately sexual and thus able to access information about sexual pleasure through sexuality education (Allen, 2005b, 2011). Some teachers agree with this call and increasingly, I respond to their requests about how to ‘insert’ a discourse of erotics in sexuality education. This chapter emerges from simultaneous feelings of ‘thrill’ and ‘disappointment’ about this turn to pleasure. I am thrilled that ‘pleasure’ is now being acknowledged and included in some sexuality education programmes both in New Zealand and internationally.1 Concurrently, I am despondent about what I have anecdotally witnessed and learned in conversation with colleagues, about the confi guration of pleasure’s inclusion in some educational contexts.