About Us

Who we are

Sexunzipped was developed by a team of researchers led by Julia Bailey from the e-Health Unit at the University College London in collaboration with young people. The website aims to promote sexual health for young people aged 16 and over.

What we believe in

  • A positive approach to sexual health promotion (i.e. celebrating pleasure, diversity and sexual rights1)
  • Young people’s right to accurate and comprehensive information on sex, sexuality and sexual health
  • Young people’s right to privacy and the freedom to make their own decisions about relationships, sex, sexuality and reproduction (within the law, and without causing suffering to others)
  • Enabling young people to enjoy their sexuality
  • Commitment to equality regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexuality or sexual preferences

Research

The website is based on research evidence from health promotion, education, sociology, sexology and psychology. For example, the website...

  • Was developed with young people
  • Avoids fear-based messages
  • Is tailored so that advice is relevant for individuals
  • Is interactive to get people actively thinking
  • Gets people to reflect on their own situations and choices
  • Builds skills (e.g. communication skills)
Some definitions

Sexual health/sexual well-being:

  • Feeling positive and safe about your own desire2
  • Feeling that your sexual choices are respected and valued
  • Feeling that your sexual health concerns are legitimate
  • Feeling able to communicate openly about your sexual desires, choices and concerns
  • Having access to appropriate support and information on wide ranging physical, social and relationship issues
  • Feeling in control of your sex life (sexual empowerment)3

Sexual wellbeing can be thought of as "a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled" (World Health Organisation 2004).

Sexual Pleasure:

  • The physical and/or psychological satisfaction and enjoyment derived from any erotic interaction including also solo sex and fantasy4

Healthy sex:

  • The conscious, positive expression of sexuality5
  • Sex which enhances self-esteem, physical health, and emotional relationships
  • Sex which is mutually beneficial and harms no-one
  • Consent: you can freely and comfortably choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity6
  • Equality: sense of personal power is on an equal level with your partner. Neither of you dominates or intimidates the other.
  • Respect: you have positive regard for yourself and for your partner. You also feel respected by your partner.
  • Trust: you trust your partner on physical and emotional levels. You accept each other’s needs and vulnerabilities and are able to respond to concerns with sensitivity.
  • Safety: you feel secure and safe within the sexual setting. You are comfortable with and assertive about where, when and how the sexual activity takes place. You feel safe from the possibility of negative consequences, such as unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infection, and physical injury.

Sexual Health Promotion:

  • Providing individuals, groups and communities with the tools to make informed decisions about their sexual well-being7

For more on the theory and evidence behind the website, please contact the study's Primary Investigator Dr Julia Bailey: julia.bailey@ucl.ac.uk, (0)20 7794 0500.


  

Acknowledgements

Funding:

The website development has been funded by the Medical Research Council, the North Central London Research Consortium, and the Worshipful Company of Curriers.

Thanks to:

London’s young people, Akimbo Group, Illumina Digital, Brook London, Pulse, Basi Akpabio, Naomi Adams, Petra Boynton, Caroline Carder, Ken Carswell, Andrew Copas, Nick Dawe, Gene Feder, Caroline Free, Rebecca French, Makeda Gerressu, Austen Green, Karen Gurney, Jo Hardy, Graham Hart, Bev Legge, Stuart Linke, Ona McCarthy, Elizabeth Murray, Irwin Nazareth, Orla O'Donnell, Menelaos Pavlou, Greta Rait, Tracy Roberts, Fiona Stevenson, Bob Swan, Rutger Thiellier and Gillian Vanhegan.

References

1Boyce P, Huang Soo Lee M, Jenkins C, Mohamed S, Overs C, Paiva V, Reid E, Tan M, Aggleton P. Putting sexuality (back) into HIV/AIDS: Issues, theory and practice. Global Public Health 2007;2(1):1-34

2Adapted from Farquhar C. Lesbian sexual health: Deconstructing research and practice. Unpublished PhD thesis 1998; South Bank University, London

3Raj A, Amaro H, Lopez-Gomez AM, Cabral H; National HIV Prevention Conference 1999; Atlanta, Georgia

4Adapted from: Philpott A, Knerr W, Boydellc V. Pleasure and Prevention: When Good Sex Is Safer Sex. Reproductive Health Matters 2006;14(28):23–31

5Adapted from Maltz 1995

7Public Health Agency of Canada. Glossary of terms ("Health Promotion, Prevention and Protection"). http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/vs-sb/glossary-eng.php 2006 (accessed 23rd July 2009)