Author ORCID Identifier

Rebecca Nurgitz :

Charlene Senn :

Karen Hobden :

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Publication Title

The impact of sexual education and socialization on sexual satisfaction, attitudes, and self-efficacy

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Sexual attitudes, sexual education, sexual satisfaction, socialization




This study examined the relation between school-based sexual education and parental messages about sex received in adolescence, and sexual attitudes and experiences in young adulthood. Participants—99 Canadian undergraduate students aged 17–25 years—reported that their sexual education largely focused on traditional topics (e.g., negative health outcomes, physiology, etc.), while social and emotional topics were less likely to be formally covered. Parental sexual socialization that was more comfortable and accepting of teen sexuality was related to more permissive sexual attitudes in young adults, but was unrelated to self-efficacy or sexual satisfaction. When all variables were examined using hierarchical regression, sexual education and parental socialization did not predict sexual satisfaction. However, mediation analysis revealed an indirect effect of sexual self-efficacy on the relation between sexual education and sexual satisfaction. More comprehensive and higher-quality sexual education increased sexual self-efficacy, which was then related to higher sexual satisfaction beyond the role of gender and relationship status. This provides insight into the mechanism by which sexual education in Canada may impact sexual satisfaction. The influence of parental socialization and school-based sexual education are apparent and complementary. Both sources of information and values (parents/school) offered benefits for young adults’ positive sexual attitudes, but school-based education appears to be key. How sexual education is delivered (e.g., if teachers are knowledgeable and comfortable discussing topics) may be even more important than the content itself. These findings suggest that prioritizing teacher training to improve their comfort with delivery of sexual education programming would improve adolescents and young adults’ sexual lives.

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