Opponents to comprehensive sex education in middle and high schools claim that the act of talking about sex encourages students to have sex. A recent study conducted at the Guttmacher Institute suggests that finding is not true; in fact, students who receive sex ed wait longer to have sex. Even better: When these students decide to have sex, they are more likely to use contraception, compared to students who received no sex education at all.
Researchers looked at data from the 2006 to 2008 National Survey of Family Growth. In the survey, researchers asked 4,691 participants, ages 15 to 24, whether they had been given any education about "how to say no to sex" and "methods of birth control." They also answered questions about their first experience with vaginal sex.
According to the Live Science, researchers found:
— Two-thirds of young women and 55 percent of young men received some form of sex education prior to having sex for the first time.
— 20 percent of students claimed the only education they received about sex solely focused on delaying sex, no mention of birth control and condoms.
— 16 percent of young women and 24 percent of young men had never received any form of sex education.
— Students who had sex education were more likely to use contraception during their first sexual encounter compared with those with no sex education. They were also likely to lose their virginity to someone more than three years older or younger than themselves.
— Teens of color are less likely to receive any form of sex education. Thirty-four percent of Black male teens and 19 percent of Black female teens had not received any form of sex education.
Researchers find the low rate of receiving any form of sex education rates among teens of color and low-income teens extremely problematic. They wrote, "These demographic groups have poorer [sexual and reproductive health] outcomes, including higher rates of STIs, [HIV], and teen pregnancy, highlighting the unmet need for formal instruction in sex education."
It’s important to point out that the researchers didn't fully make a distinction between abstinence-only education and sex education when asking the students these questions. And there wasn't any mention of anal sex, which past studies have shown is on the rise among young people.
And while delaying sex may make parents feel more at ease, Laura Lindberg, a senior research associate at Guttmacher, emphasizes that there are more benefits to receiving sex ed. She told Time.com, “It’s that being older at first sex in and of itself is related to more positive sexual behaviors such as being more likely to use birth control and less likely to get pregnant. The fact that sex ed can delay sex a little still has big influences down the road.”
Did you receive any form of sex education?
To learn more about comprehensive sex verses abstinence only sex ed, go here.
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