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Does Sex Ed Lead to Teen Promiscuity?




During Sex Education For All Month, I’m working on debunking some common myths about sex ed that are leading to a lot of parents being opposed to comprehensive sex education in schools. 


The purpose of this blog is to give you sources and resources to address any concerns that you, your friends, or family, may have about sex education, which is under attack and is currently not being taught in many schools, including the entire province of Saskatchewan


Even schools that are delivering sex education, may not be providing comprehensive sex education, which goes beyond the standard reproductive information and scary videos about STI’s to give youth the tools they need to navigate a precarious path of misinformation and problematic messaging towards a healthy attitude about their own bodies and sexuality.


Some Common Sex Education Myths Are:


  • Sex education leads to promiscuity and young people having sex earlier.

  • Sex education leads to young people trying riskier behaviors they might not have thought of otherwise.

  • Sex education leads to young people becoming confused about their sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • Can you think of more myths about sex education? Let me know…


These myths are actually a complete reversal of the truth, and the data and statistics prove it.


According to the CDC, students who receive sexual health education in school are more likely to: 

  • Delay initiation of sexual intercourse

  • Have fewer sex partners

  • Have fewer experiences of unprotected sex

  • Increase their use of protection, specifically condoms

  • Improve their academic performance.

How does this work? The fact is that if young people have the information and self affirmation of comprehensive sex education, they have the tools to make healthier choices. 


Key Benefits of Comprehensive Sex Education:


  1. Study after study has shown that comprehensive sex and relationship education leads to reduced rates of teen pregnancy and STIs. For instance, a study by the Guttmacher Institute found that teens who received comprehensive education were 50% less likely to experience a pregnancy compared to those who received abstinence-only education or no sex education at all. Read more here.



  1. Studies show that young people who receive sexual health education result in delayed sexual initiation:  Educating young people about the complexities of sexual relationships and the responsibilities involved can encourage them to wait until they feel fully prepared. Read more here.



  1. When teens are educated about the different methods of contraception and their respective efficacies, they are more likely to use these methods correctly and consistently. This knowledge is crucial for preventing unintended pregnancies and the spread of STIs. Read more here.



  1. Comprehensive sex education teaches skills such as communication, collaboration, and respect, which are essential for healthy relationships. These programs often discuss topics like how to recognize boundaries and hear no graciously, which can lead to more respectful interactions. A recent study by SIECUS showed that girls who received this type of instruction in high school were half as likely to be sexually assaulted in college. Read more here.



  1. Enhanced Self-Esteem and Body Positivity: By addressing topics like body image, gender identity, and sexual orientation, comprehensive sex education helps young people develop a healthier relationship with their bodies and identities. This can lead to improved self-esteem, self-awareness, and a reduction in body-related shame.  Read more here.



Great Ted Talks on Comprehensive Sex Education:


Not everyone wants to read, so here are some great Ted Talks about the benefits of learning about consent within comprehensive sex educations. Consent education is based on the premise of mutually agreeable interactions, and understanding that everyone has the right to ask for what they want, and receive sexual pleasure, is also a topic here:



My colleague Kaz - a certified facilitator of the Consent Culture Intro Workshop! - talks about how consent is an essential component of effective and comprehensive sex education.  Watch here.



Sue Jay Johnson talks about the important information that we’re not teaching kids about sex and communication. Watch here.



Peggy Orenstein talks about “intimate justice” and how we need to go beyond consent and talk about how everyone is entitled to sexual pleasure. Watch here



Please speak out during Sex Ed For All Month. We are failing our young people if we do not give them the information, skills and tools they need to have healthy, loving, respectful, and enjoyable sex lives!


In our book, Creating Consent Culture: A Handbook for Educators, we provide a trauma-informed, age appropriate, and effective way to teach consent skills to young people. By practising these skills in an embodied and fun way, they integrate them more deeply and have more access to them when they find themselves in high stakes and confusing situations. It’s a great resource for anyone tasked with teaching comprehensive sex and relationship education. 


Buy the book here:



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