14 Apr 2021
International journal of environmental research and public health;
Sex education in the United States is often approached through an individual lens that focuses on personal protection, safety, and rights. This focus on personal responsibility and care-for-self reflects national values and permeates governmental systems and actions, including generalized public health approaches. This issue has been most recently highlighted in the individual and systemic attitudes, beliefs, and responses towards the recent, ongoing crisis following the global surge of COVID-19. In this paper, we provide examples and discuss lessons gleaned from the public health response to this crisis, particularly in the areas and intersections of gender, individualism, and neoliberalism, and the parallels of these issues in sex education. We make an appeal for a collectivist and community-oriented approach to sex education, which would focus not only on prevention and protection, but on inequities, ethics, and care for others.