The effects of sex education on sex information, sexual attitudes, and sexual behavior



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The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of sex education on University of Houston students with respect to their sex information, sexual attitudes, sexual behaviors, and reasons for restricting premarital intercourse and on the relationship between sex information and sexual attitudes. First, the amount of accurate sex information increased considerably and significantly as a result of sex education. Second sex education produced a significant sexual attitudinal shift toward a more liberal and permissive position. Third, sex education significantly changed three of seven sexual attitude factors in the total sample and in parts of the total sample, which was broken down according to the sex and marital status of the students: (1) the availability of practical information (total sample, female students, and married students), (2) harmlessness of previous premarital partners (total sample only), and (3) the community's role in governing sexual behavior (total sample and female, nonmarried, and married students). Fourth, sex education significantly increased the frequency of three of nine sexual behaviors in the total sample, which are use of pornography (also increased in female students and non-married students), oral-genital sex (also increased in married students), and masturbation (also increased in female students and non-married students. Fifth, sex education appeared to maintain the significant relationship between sex information and sexual attitudes in the total sample and in male, female, and non-married students: high sex information correlated with liberal sexual attitudes and low sex information correlated with conservative sexual attitudes. Finally, sex education did not significantly change over-all sexual behavior or the reasons for restricting premarital intercourse. The results of this study indicated that sex education has many positive effects on college students and none of the serious negative effects predicted by opponents against sex education.