exploring sex education in the united states

As a part of a group project, designers Sarah Weitzman, Erin Reagan, and I decided to explore new ways to approach sex education in the United States.  Shockingly, only 22 states and the District of Columbia require that public schools teach sex education, and only 19 require that it be medically accurate.  The following post explores our research, user interviews, and a proposed prototype for a new kind of sex education. 


User Research

As a way to better understand the ways young people experience, approach, and feel about sex ed, we conducted several interviews with young men and women, ages 14 to 25. We found that there were three main concerns:

1. Sex ed should be personalized and inclusive

2. Sex ed should be a private experience

3. Sex ed should be "go at your own pace"

Here are a few of the things they had to say: 


Design response

As designers, we took the challenge to make sex ed personalized, private, and go-at-your-own-pace as our guiding directives to prototype a first-of-its-kind sex ed "kit". This kit can be ordered and customized online by students and/or their parents based on the individual student's needs and interests. All of the material in the kits use inclusive language, are scientifically accurate, and include important resources for young people who need to reach out for help or that want to find out more. Visually, we wanted the kit to feel approachable, discreet, and trustworthy. We also wanted to include topics like LGBTQ+ education and healthy relationship building, which are often lacking from traditional sex ed programs. Below are a few photos of our first prototype kit, which we used as a tool to re-interview our study group and get their responses.