A Dutch perspective on sexual integrity in sport contexts: definition and meaning for practice

Esther van der Steeg, Nicolette Schipper-Van Veldhoven, Marianne Cense, Tina Bellemans, Kristine de Martelaer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: Positive ethics is a trending topic in sports. However, a gap exists when sexuality and gender issues are concerned. This study aimed to explore the concept of sexual integrity as an opportunity for the development of a positive ethics approach of sexuality and gender in sport contexts. Materials and methods: To obtain consensus on definition, operationalization, and competences, a Delphi study was conducted among 77 stakeholders divided into panels of youth coaches, physical education (PE) teachers, athletes, and PE students. Results: Consensus was reached on a definition and operationalization of sexual integrity in sport contexts, defining it as the conscious, respectful, and responsible handling of one’s own and other people's body, opinions, relationships, and behaviour with regard to sexuality and gender, with the aim of contributing to the pleasure, development, resilience, and safety of (young) people in sports. Core competences for sexual integrity were highlighted, not only for coaches and PE teachers, but also for youngsters to develop. Discussion: This study presents a definition, an operationalization, and a number of competences for sexual integrity. With these, an essential connection with a positive ethical climate is proposed for the benefit of coaches, PE teachers, and youngsters as actors. The operationalization and concrete list of competences will aid the development of future prevention policies regarding sexual and gender-based violence, with an important opportunity for programme designers and policy makers to optimize training programmes. Further research is required to include sport federations’ perspectives and to develop and implement programmes addressing sexual integrity for the benefit of coaches, PE teachers, and youngsters.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Education and Sport Pedagogy
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sep 2020


  • Integrity
  • positive ethics
  • gender
  • sexuality
  • prevention

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