Toward an Internet-driven, theoretically-based, innovative approach to sex education

Azy Barak, William A. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sex education is aimed at equipping individuals with sex-related information, motivation, and behavioral skills that will enable them to avoid sex-related problems and to achieve sexual well-being. Existing sex education programs are generally delivered via relatively passive classroom-based pedagogical techniques and are questionably effective in achieving their aims. The current discussion calls for the development of an Internet-based, theoretically-driven, innovative approach to sex education. This approach weds the special strengths of the Internet as a rich, interactive, individualized pedagogical tool with the strengths of well-validated behavioral science theory in order to provide effective sex education to large numbers of individuals in a very cost-effective fashion. The proposed approach is based on the Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills model (J. Fisher & Fisher, 1992; W Fisher & Fisher, in press), and exploits the characteristics of anonymity, availability, affordability, acceptability, and aloneness of using the Internet. Within this approach, learners are first individually assessed in terms of information, motivation, and behavioral skills deficits that are relevant to the individual's sexual problems and sexual well-being. Learners then participate in individually targeted sex education activities-utilizing relevant materials including text, multimedia components, and links to associated sites-which address the individual learner's empirically identified needs and goals. The article concludes with a call for development and evaluation of innovative, Internet-driven, theoretically-based approaches to sex education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-332
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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