The effects of sex education on adolescent behavior.Fam Plann Perspect. 1986 Jul-Aug; 18(4):162-70.FP
By age 18, according to the 1982 National Survey of Family Growth, 68 percent of 15-19-year-old women have received formal instruction about pregnancy and contraceptive methods, 16 percent have had instruction about pregnancy only, and another 16 percent have received neither type of education. The age at which formal contraceptive education is first provided has been declining; among 15-year-olds, for example, 47 percent have had instruction by their 15th birthday, compared with 33 percent of 17-year-olds and 26 percent of 19-year-olds. Forty-six percent of adolescent women have had premarital intercourse. Exposure to formal sex education appears to have no consistent effect on the subsequent probability that a teenager will begin to have intercourse. Sex education does influence contraceptive knowledge and behavior, however. Sexually active teenagers who have had formal instruction report knowing how to use more methods than do adolescents who have had no instruction. The former group is also significantly more likely to have practiced contraception at some time. And among ever-users, those who have received pregnancy and contraceptive education before first coitus are significantly more likely to have used a method at first intercourse. Nearly one-third of premaritally sexually active adolescents have had at least one premarital pregnancy. The NSFG data reveal no significant relationship between exposure to sex education and the risk of premarital pregnancy among sexually active teenagers.