sexuality education
Sexuality education belongs to all ages. In order to reach a specific target group, we should answer the questions important to them.

Ingredients in successful sex education for adults

Toolkit. Sex educator Pelle Ullholm from long-running Swedish sexual and reproductive health organisation, RFSU, shares 5 tips on how to target the adult audience.

18.06.2019

The long history of sexuality education and organisations working on the issue is truly an advantage. Swedish RFSU does not need to try reach the media to attract attention to their message. Instead, it is easy for the media to pick up the campaigns that RFSU launches.

During the long history, there has been much evolving and re-focusing.

In the 1980s and 90s, RFSU concentrated on HIV prevention, but today the topic of sex education is broader and more positive about sex.

1. Talk about what the adults want to talk about

The RFSU clinic in Stockholm offers free contraception counselling and STI prevention. People can also seek sexuality-related advice and therapy at the clinics.

Recently the clinic has also started offering couple counselling on sexuality.

“With health care professionals, sexuality can be a little bit of a taboo, but at RFSU it can be easier to talk to the experts, who are specialised in sex-related issues, and the mindset at the clinic is towards sexuality.

2. Be agile

People are used to getting answers fast and on their mobile devices, so RFSU has moved from a mailbox to a chat service on counselling and advice. Approximately half the questions come from people older than in their teens.

“The chat might start with one simple question, but when trust builds, more questions follow and we might be able to help people with more serious issues.”

3. Choose the media channels attractive to your target group

Ullholm emphasises selecting the right media outlets specifically targeted to an adult audience in reaching the target group. RFSU conducted projects for adults including, for example, short films and podcasts about sexuality targeted especially at adults. They have also co-operated with the biggest free newspaper by producing sexuality-related content.

They use celebrities aged 40+ as guests in podcasts that are aired on public radio. The shows are fun and serious at the same time. Discussion topics vary from sexuality as a parent, to sex at certain ages and body-related differences.

4. Go where your target group already is

Besides relevant media, RFSU gladly cooperates with other organisations, brands and events, such as festivals.

Young adults are the target group they want to find, since this group can no longer be reached easily at schools.

Ullholm says that RFSU does not have any need to polish its own brand and be the one and only keeper of information on sexuality issues. He sees that cooperation is what makes the message stronger.

“It pays to go where people are. Being part of a festival and having an event or brand with the same message as us connect with the audience will reach more people and have more impact.”

RFSU’s attendance at events does not simply mean free condoms. The perspective on sex is broader.

5. Use a narrow target group

RFSU has now started a special service for people over 50.

“People do not have less sex when they get older, they just have new problems. In order to reach a specific target group, we must answer the questions important to that group.

RFSU

  • A Swedish organisation working in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • Was established in 1933.
  • Started targeting the adult audience in particular about seven years ago.

Sex educator Pelle Ullholm from long-running Swedish sexual and reproductive health organisation, RFSU, shares 5 tips on how to target the adult audience.

Read more about the state of  sexuality education in Europe: How do they do it? – It is time to modernise the practices of sex education for adults

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