Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 7-6-2015

Journal / Book Title

Journal of Health Communication


The web has unique potential for adolescents seeking comprehensive sexual health information. As such, it is important to understand the nature, scope, and readability of the content and messaging provided by sexuality educational websites. We conducted a content analysis of 14 sexuality education websites for adolescents, based on the 7 essential components (sexual and reproductive health and HIV, relationships, sexual rights and sexual citizenship, pleasure, violence, diversity, and gender) of the International Planned Parenthood Framework for Comprehensive Sexuality Education. A majority of content across all sites focused on sexual and reproductive health and HIV, particularly pregnancy and STI prevention, and other information about STIs and HIV. No other topic comprised more than 10% of content coverage across a majority of sites. The authors found little discussion of gender issues, sexual rights, sexual diversity, or sexual violence. Most sites provided brief references to sexual pleasure, generally moderated with cautionary words. The language used implied a heterosexual female audience. Reading levels for most sites were above the 9th-grade level, with several at the college level. These findings have implications for enhancing online sexuality education and broadening the coverage of essential topics.


Published Citation

Marques, Sara S., Jessica S. Lin, M. Summer Starling, Aubrey G. Daquiz, Eva S. Goldfarb, Kimberly CR Garcia, and Norman A. Constantine. "Sexuality education websites for adolescents: A framework-based content analysis." Journal of health communication 20, no. 11 (2015): 1310-1319. Harvard