Let's Talk About Sex: Assessing Emerging Adults' Sources of Information by Gender and Race


Learning about sex can seem daunting and uncomfortable. This study assessed sexual education sources from 275 SUNY Cortland students (48.4% male, 50.2% female; 76.7% non-Hispanic white; 15.3% Latinx; 6.2% Black; 4.7% Asian/Pacific Islander; 2.9% other; 0.7% Native American). Participants indicated who taught them most about sex. The most commonly selected source was friends, and this was true for participants of each race (64.5% of white participants; 54.8% Latinx; 46.2% Asian/Pacific Islander; 35.3% Black) and gender (54.1% of males, 67.4% of females). The second most common source for Black participants was TV, whereas for Asian and non-Hispanic white participants it was teachers, and for Latinx participants it was parents. Notably, 14.3% of males indicated that no one taught them about sex compared to only 2.9% of females. These results indicate that while sources of information may differ by gender and race, friends play an important role.