Event Title

Sources of Sexual Education and Young Adults' Sexual Behavior

Poster Number

21

Faculty Mentor

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

Location

Richardson Ballroom

Start Date

24-4-2015 1:20 PM

End Date

24-4-2015 2:50 PM

Description

We examined the sources from which young adults learned about sex and how those relate to sexual activity in adulthood. Participants were 88 young adults. Sexual activity was assessed with the Sexual Attitudes and Activities Questionnaire (Noll, 2003), and sexual education was assessed with questions created by the researchers. Results revealed that most young adults received sexual education by learning it on their own. Gender emerged as a more influential variable in sexual education than did race. Women were more likely to agree that they learned sexual education from their mothers, from friends, and from doctors. Men were more likely to agree that they learned sexual education from their fathers. These different sources of knowledge may contribute to gender-related differences in adult sexual behavior patterns, such as our finding that men were more sexually active than women. We compared African-American and Caucasian participants and found no differences in how these two groups learned about sexual education. Participants who learned about sex from their mothers or from doctors were less sexually active and less likely to experience negative outcomes, such as STDs. Perhaps young adults perceive mothers and doctors as trustworthy sources of information, and these are sources that probably promote safe sexual behavior. In addition, adults who learned about sexual activity from their mothers may experience emotional closeness at home and be less likely to seek it through sexual relationships. These findings suggest that the source of sexual education is an influential factor in sexual decision-making.

Comments

Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) Annual Meeting, March 2015

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Apr 24th, 1:20 PM Apr 24th, 2:50 PM

Sources of Sexual Education and Young Adults' Sexual Behavior

Richardson Ballroom

We examined the sources from which young adults learned about sex and how those relate to sexual activity in adulthood. Participants were 88 young adults. Sexual activity was assessed with the Sexual Attitudes and Activities Questionnaire (Noll, 2003), and sexual education was assessed with questions created by the researchers. Results revealed that most young adults received sexual education by learning it on their own. Gender emerged as a more influential variable in sexual education than did race. Women were more likely to agree that they learned sexual education from their mothers, from friends, and from doctors. Men were more likely to agree that they learned sexual education from their fathers. These different sources of knowledge may contribute to gender-related differences in adult sexual behavior patterns, such as our finding that men were more sexually active than women. We compared African-American and Caucasian participants and found no differences in how these two groups learned about sexual education. Participants who learned about sex from their mothers or from doctors were less sexually active and less likely to experience negative outcomes, such as STDs. Perhaps young adults perceive mothers and doctors as trustworthy sources of information, and these are sources that probably promote safe sexual behavior. In addition, adults who learned about sexual activity from their mothers may experience emotional closeness at home and be less likely to seek it through sexual relationships. These findings suggest that the source of sexual education is an influential factor in sexual decision-making.