Examining the Effects of Sex Education on Young Adults' Sexual Behaviors and Health




Cook, Holly D.

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This study examines the impact of sex education on sexual health and sexual behaviors in young adults. Using data from the Guttmacher Institute’s National Survey of Reproductive and Contraceptive Knowledge, this research investigates whether education impacts their uses of contraception, visits to the doctor for sexual health, number of sexual partners in a year, and age of first intercourse. Sex education is a topic of sociological interest as it has long been believed that with adequate knowledge on sexuality, sexual health, and resources to contraceptives, teenagers are less likely to engage in risky behaviors. Because this study relates to a public health issue, where contraceptive methods and healthy relationships are emphasized, the findings can contribute to sex education research. Support for positive sexuality education has become favorable to many scholars in the field. The current discussions on sex education in the U.S. are polarized, which makes it important to research the effectiveness of these programs and understand the topics that are included in the curricula. Results show that those who have received a sex education course are not any more likely to have an earlier age of first intercourse nor have a higher number of sexual partners than those who have not received sex education. There is a statistical significance between these groups in that those who have received a sex education course are more likely to make a doctor visit for sexual health related reasons and are more likely to use contraception as compared to those who have not received a sex education course.



Abstinence, Comprehensive sexuality education, Young adults, Behavior, Health


Cook, H. D. (2017). <i>Examining the effects of sex education on young adults' sexual behaviors and health</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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