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New online interactive allows young people with life-threatening conditions to talk about sex

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A new online interactive which encourages young people with life-limiting conditions to talk about sex and intimacy, is being launched this month (August 2019).

The interactive, which has been developed by the OU’s Priority Research Area in Health & Wellbeing, is part of the Talking about…sex and relationships: Young people speak out project – which will help these young people navigate this sensitive subject.

First study of this group

The project is funded by the Improving Transitions for Young People Fund, run by Together for Short Lives, a UK wide charity that, together with their members, speaks out for all children and young people who are expected to have short lives, and The Open University.

“This project is the first comprehensive study of its kind which has led to this innovative new interactive”, said Dr Sarah Earle, Director of the Open University’s Priority Research Area in Health & Wellbeing.

“The population of young people to whom it will appeal is quite new because they were not expected to survive into adulthood. Sharing their experiences about sex and intimacy is vital for their emotional wellbeing and sense of social inclusion as they are often seen as asexual and their needs overlooked.”

Developing more educational resources to facilitate intimacy

The interactive allows participants to hear from four interviewees with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions and to explore their own views and to provide feedback.

The data from the interactive will be analysed by the researchers and fed back into the project, which will develop a range of Open Educational Resources (OERs) that will facilitate young people to have conversations about sex, intimacy and relationships with their family, carers or professional support staff.

The project will also equip health practitioners to provide better support to young people on this invisible topic through knowledge, resources and a better understanding of the views and experiences of young people themselves.

Access the interactive and watch videos of the four interviewees

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