Consequences of Sex Education on Teen and Young Adult Sexual Behaviors and Outcomes

Laura Lindberg, Guttmacher Institute
Isaac Maddow-Zimet, Guttmacher Institute

We used the 2006-08 National Survey of Family Growth to examine whether receiving formal sex education before first sexual intercourse is associated with safer sexual health behaviors and outcome. Receipt of formal sex education, regardless of type, was associated with a later onset of first sex for both genders, as compared to receiving no sex education. Respondents receiving instruction on both abstinence and contraception (Ab+BC) were significantly more likely at first sex to use any contraception (OR=1.73, females, OR=1.91, males) or a condom (OR=1.69, females, OR=1.90, males), and less likely to have an age discrepant partner (OR=.67, females, OR=.48, males). Females receiving Ab+BC education were less likely to report that their first sex was unwanted (OR=.46). There were no significant associations between only abstinence education and these outcomes. The associations between sex education and all longer-term outcomes were mediated by later age at first sex.

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Presented in Session 41: Dating and Adolescent Sexual Activity