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Glob Health Sci Pract. 2018 Mar 30;6(1):137-149. doi: 10.9745/GHSP-D-17-00284. Print 2018 Mar 21.

Evolution and Resistance to Sexuality Education in Mexico.

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Department of Reproductive Health and Research/Human Reproduction Programme, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
School of Psychology, Universidad Catolica del Uruguay, Montevideo, Uruguay.
School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA. Now with Department of Reproductive Health and Research/Human Reproduction Programme, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA.
World Association for Sexual Health, Mexico City, Mexico.



Since the 1930s, Mexico has made substantial progress in providing adolescents with sexuality education through an evolving national school-based program. As part of a broader effort to document strategies to build support for and deal with resistance to sexuality education, this analysis uses a historical lens to answer 2 key questions: (1) How has the nature of sexuality education in Mexico evolved from the 1930s to the 2010s? (2) How have the drivers, responses, support, and resistance to sexuality education impacted Mexico's experience implementing and sustaining school-based sexuality education?


The analysis was informed by a review of peer-reviewed and gray literature as well as the personal experience and documents of one of the authors, who has played a central role in Mexico's sexuality education effort for 50 years. The findings were organized according to 4 time periods-the 1930s, the 1970s, the 1990s, and the first 2 decades of the 21st century-that emerged during the analysis as distinct periods with regard to the social and political context of school-based sexuality education. Within each of these time periods, the following 4 thematic aspects were assessed: drivers, responses, support, and resistance, with a particular focus on the rationales and strategies of resistance over time.Findings: This analysis identified determined support for school-based sexuality education in the 4 historical time periods from a range of governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders. However, opposition to sexuality education also steadily rose in the time period considered, with a growing range of more organized and well-financed actors. The Mexican government's commitment to delivering school-based sexuality education has driven its inclusion in public schools, along with expansion of its curricula from primarily biological content to a more comprehensive approach.


Mexico's experience with sexuality education can inform other countries' efforts to consider the drivers, responses, support, and resistance that may be present in their own contexts. This type of analysis can contribute to strategic, well-informed, and well-conceived programmatic design and implementation to build support for sexuality education and deal with resistance.

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