TikTok Sex Ed: What Brands Should Know

TikTok Sex ed: it’s not like what they taught you in school. Here’s everything brands need to know about sex ed on Tiktok, and what it can teach us about Gen Z.
Fanbytes | TikTok Sex Ed

In 30 seconds:

  • For Gen Z, TikTok is more than just an entertainment platform. It’s also where they go to learn things they might not hear elsewhere.
  • There’s a thriving TikTok community of sex educators on the app who post videos on topics like reproductive health, birth control and more.
  • The sex ed that takes place on TikTok can teach us a lot about what Gen Z cares about – and their attitudes towards sex, relationships, education, and more.

TikTok Sex Ed, you won’t be surprised to learn, looks nothing like it does in a classroom. 

Forget confusing sexual health diagrams and dry lectures on STIs. On TikTok, sexual education is delivered in short videos and by influencers and health educators who look an awful lot like their audiences – and many of them are young women.

What might be surprising to a newbie is the sheer amount of TikTok content relating to sex ed, considering the app’s strict community guidelines around sexual content. The platform specifically bans sexually explicit content – although “educational” and “in the public interest” content is allowed

This hasn’t always kept sex educators’ content from being erased, however, and they’ve had to develop a series of TikTok algorithm workarounds. Censoring the word ‘sex’ itself is a big one, and most TikTok sex ed content is posted under the hashtag #SeggsEducation, which has over 437 million views. 

Given the difficulty in posting, the sheer amount of content is proof of how important these conversations are to Gen Z. Young people are willing to risk their videos and profiles being sanctioned just in order to facilitate discussions around sexual education

So, what is it about TikTok Sex Ed that holds such mass appeal? And what can it teach us about engaging with Gen Z? We’ve delved deep to bring you everything you need to know. 

Is TikTok Educational?

When Covid interrupted the implementation of compulsory Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in UK Secondary schools, a survey by the Sex Education Reform showed that the quality of sex ed had regressed to become worse than it was in 2019. The disruption caused by the pandemic meant that even those who had been receiving adequate sex ed prior to Covid suddenly lost their access while other subjects were prioritised. 

And in the US, the state of sex education in schools is understood to be even worse. Only 14% of middle schools and 38% of high schools teach all the topics required in sex education in healthclass

In this void of readily-available sex ed, TikTok has arisen as a source for learning. 

With over 1 billion monthly active users – 60% of whom are Gen Zers – TikTok is an accessible route into online communities. And, given that 81% of Gen-Zers think social media gives their generation more of a voice than previous generations, it’s understandable why they turned to TikTok to fill the gaps in their sex education

TikTok did already have a reputation as a place for learning. Despite a majority of users claiming they access the app primarily for entertainment purposes, the #LearnOnTikTok hashtag has been consistently popular, with over 311.5 billion views

Of course, on an egalitarian platform where anyone can make content, there are some issues regarding misinformation

Since TikTok content isn’t peer reviewed, some Health Policy Researchers have proposed that the platform introduces a research-based team to counter misinformation and fact-check sex ed content. For the moment, however, TikTokers are reliant on their fellow users to call out misinformation they might encounter in the online sex ed space. 

The sex education TikTok trend: top 3 lessons

There are three topics that surface most often in TikTok Sex Ed videos. 

It’s fair to suggest that these are the three which occupy Gen Zers most, given that they pick up the most engagement from viewers, and they’re also topics that are historically less covered in the high school sex education curriculum

In other words; these are the top three ‘gaps in the market’ that TikTok Sex Educators have identified:

1. Female pleasure

A recent study that evaluated the most popular subjects covered within TikTok Sex Ed spaces found that female anatomy ranked in the top spot. It was quickly followed by female sexual pleasure. 

@bxbybvnnie teaching ppl to find the cl!t since 2022 🤪 like this video if this is helpful! I'll use it more in future videos if need me #sgtiktok #seggseducation ♬ Say So (Instrumental Version) [Originally Performed by Doja Cat] - Elliot Van Coup

Some videos – including from obgyn professionals – describe genitalia in simple terms, while others talk frankly about how to avoid painful sex, female body image or what to expect from different kinds of birth control. Others cover masturbation, or tips for males partners to help their female sexual partner reach orgasm.

We used Bytesights to uncover that 70% of content creators responsible for #SeggsEducation videos are female. This is a clear indication that sex education from a female perspective, and with a focus on the female experience, has been missing from Gen Z’s sex ed. A lot of the time, these young women are creating the content they wished they had had access to themselves. 

2. LGBTQ+ relationships

Another example of a popular subject not historically well-covered in Sexual education classes is regarding queer sex and relationships. 

According to one GLSEN school climate survey, over 24% of LGBTQ+ student never receive school-based sex ed – and only 8% of those who do have said their sexual healthcare education was inclusive of LGBTQ+ topics. 

@whatsmybodydoing Reply to @aliceinwonderland663 My top tips for having 🌈 seggs for the first time! #latebloomerlesbian #comphet #comphetlesbian #wlw #sapphic #queer #seggseducation ♬ original sound - Eva Bloom

There are a range of creators on TikTok creating queer-specific videos to address the gap in education on LGBTQ+ sexuality and gender identity. For Gen Z, who are the most queer generation in history, that’s a lifeline for their sexual and mental health

Plus, given that TikTok is a social media platform where users can interact with strangers, and be as anonymous as they like, creators like this can field questions from their young viewers that they might not feel able to ask elsewhere. 

3. Consent and loving relationships

Using our unique Bytesights tool – which identifies rising TikTok stars and trends – we’ve discovered that other terms which rank highly alongside #SeggsEducation videos are: #intimacy, #SeggsPositivity and #DatingAdvice. 

@alyssataylorharper also talk to your partner gently if you're feeling this way, try not to focus on it as a problem that needs solving but rather a chance to explore 🤍 #seggseducation #longtermrelationshipproblems #longtermrelationshipsbelike #intimacycoachtiktok #intimacyissues ♬ original sound - Alyssa Harper 🌞

These speak to a wider trend amongst Gen Zers regarding sex and relationships. Studies have shown that while some Gen Z are having sex later than previous generations, they’re talking about it more. This is a generation that doesn’t feel as much societal pressure to conform.

That’s empowering news for relationships. While the majority of Gen Z say a steady relationship is the end goal of their romantic lives, they also won’t settle for less than they deserve. 75% of single Gen Z, for example, have said they want to take time to understand themselves better first.

Conversations like those taking place on TikTok are offering a nuanced take on sex and relationships that, ultimately, are situating Gen Zers with a more well-rounded view of intimacy as a whole. 

Understanding Gen Z’s views on sex, sexuality and body image

Our teenage years are when we feel our most self-conscious. But Gen Z is experiencing this while social media is ever-present, and sex education has taken a nosedive due to the pandemic. So, what does the landscape of Gen Z sex, sexuality and body image really look like?

In our latest report, we not only share our insights, but provide actionable steps to crack Gen Z throughout your marketing. As Gen Z emerges as the biggest consumer generation and begins to form their brand loyalty, understanding the subjects that are most important to them is vital. Even better: learn how to lead the conversation, and Gen Z can become your greatest ally.

As more brands seek to evince a social purpose, understanding the content Gen Z wants to see is a clear path towards winning them over. In our report, we examine exactly what that is, and how you can add to the conversation.

What can we learn from TikTok Sex Ed?

The trends on TikTok show us what Gen Z cares about. By monitoring TikTok trends, we can learn what this generation is interested in, engaging with, and even what they’re afraid to talk openly about in real life.

The fact that the biggest trends in TikTok sex ed content consistently reach hundreds of millions of views is proof that this generation of young people is hungry for content about sex that goes further than contraception and reproductive health

One prominent TikTok sex educator is Dr. Jennifer Lincoln. Dr. Lincoln is an obstetrician-gynecologist who uses her popular TikTok account to address questions from people with uteruses – and she says that the platform is a lifeline for those who haven’t felt empowered to speak up in a Doctors office. 

Writing in Newsweek, Dr. Lincoln said, “I feel like there is a culture where people don’t know how to access information and are typically only taught how not to get pregnant. There is a lack of education and a lot of shame.” 

It is this anti-shame, sex positive attitude that is the most revolutionary trend to emerge from TikTok sex ed, as more and more young people adopt a pragmatic, open and positive view of sexual relationships. 

TikTok sex ed for brands

Gen Z is not squeamish about sex. 

They’re open to talking about the things that they don’t understand, and they know where and how to find answers to the questions they don’t feel comfortable asking in school classes. Often, it‘s on their TikTok For You Page (FYP). 

The rise of sex ed on platforms like TikTok means that Gen Z is swiftly becoming the most sex-literate and sex-positive generation – and advertising towards them should reflect this. 

Brands on TikTok must maintain an educational focus towards any Sex Ed content in order to keep on the right side of TikTok’s guidelines, but luckily this is the content Gen Zers are eager to see. Providing clear, upbeat, diverse and educational content around sex and relationships is ideal for brands wanting to be active in the TikTok sex ed space. 

For more information on how your brand can win over Gen Z by providing great sex education, read our report for insights and actionable steps you can implement now. Alternatively, get in touch with us – we’d love to talk to you about how we’ll make your brand the one young people are all talking about.

TikTok is far more than just an entertainment platform – it’s also informing the way Gen Z thinks and learns. Read on for more insights:

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