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

Abstract

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.