For a number of American teenagers, sex is still a topic that is not discussed at home, leaving many to learn about it on their own.
“If I would have had sex education in school or been able to talk openly to my mother about sex, then I would have been more prepared for my sexual experiences,” said Jasmine Causey, 19, a freshman general education student from Killeen, Texas.
Others receive valuable information about the taboo topic through open discussion with their parents.
Amir Windom said he is glad his parents were willing to discuss the topic with him.
“I was very comfortable talking to my parents about sex,” said the 18-year-old freshman broadcast journalism student from Atlanta. “They told me about all the consequences of sex and that I need to protect myself.”
Harold W. Ford, a counselor at the Center for Human Development, agreed that early education and openness about sex is the key to a healthy sex life in the future.
“The problem is that a lot of kids grow up with the wrong idea about sex, thinking it’s about pure pleasure and thrill.”
Some attribute childhood sexual experiences and the lack of sex education as reasons why students make poor decisions dealing with their sexual behavior.
Monique Potter, a health educator at FAMU’s student health center, said she believed childhood sexual behavior has an impact on future sexual decisions, but said it differs for males and females.
“[Women] who are raised with self-esteem issues tend to develop more promiscuity problems. They are looking for love and find sex,” she said. “Also, if they started having intercourse and being promiscuous at a young age, that pattern will continue through college and gradually get worse.”
Potter said males have different experiences as adults.
“As far as males, much of their sexual behavior is due to society putting a lot of sexual responsibility on them and making them feel that they have to do this,” he said. “Eventually, that’s how they define themselves.”
Ford said what a person learns about sex during their childhood will influence their future choices. Nonetheless, Ford said education is key.
“Someone who was not properly educated is more likely to end up having a destructive sexual lifestyle. Whereas, those who are educated at an early age will be more receptive to the dangers of sexual intercourse.”
Contact La’toya Russell at firstname.lastname@example.org