U.S. Teens Get Less Sex Ed Now Than 25 Years Ago

Health Day Reporter

TUESDAY, November 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Sex Ed has been a staple of public education for decades. Still, a new study shows that only half of American teens are getting an education that meets minimum standards.

“The results show that most teens are not receiving a sex education that would allow them to manage their sex lives,” said study author Leslie Kantor, chair of urban and global public health at the Rutgers School of Public Health in New Jersey.

Kantor and her team analyzed data from nearly 8,000 American teenagers in the 2011-2015 and 2015-2019 National Family Growth Survey. They found that about half of the young people received sex education according to national standards in both periods. More than 75% of teenagers received instructions on “how to say no to sex,” and only about 60% received information about birth control.

In 1995, over 80% of teenagers received information about birth control.

Robert Preidt

Another important finding was that many adolescents do not receive any information about protection against sexually transmitted diseases before sexual intercourse.

The researchers also found marked gender and racial differences in adolescents’ access to comprehensive sex education. Women are more likely than men to receive instruction on how to wait until marriage to have Sex. At the same time, men are more likely than women to be trained in condom use.

Fewer black and Hispanic men than whites are instructed about birth control, HIV and STI (sexually transmitted infections) prevention, and avoiding Sex. Queer youth are less likely than straight people to learn about HIV/STI prevention and where to buy contraceptives.

The study was published November 4 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

“Politicians should invest in inclusive and comprehensive sex education programs with an eye towards greater equity and inclusion,” Kantor said in a Rutgers press release.

“The United States is failing teenagers and their families by providing limited sex education to many youths,” Kantor added. “Federal, state, and local policymakers must work harder to ensure that sex education is age-appropriate. That education is fair and meets the needs of all young people. And does not leave some young people less prepared for a sexually healthy life.”

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers tips on talking to kids about Sex.

SOURCE: Rutgers University press release, November 4, 2021

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