Shocker: Survey Finds Teens More Interested in Family Values than Sex Ed

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

UK authorities were shocked at the results of a recent survey in which the majority of teens said they would rather be taught about family values than sex ed.

London’s Daily Mail is reporting that the survey, conducted by East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the government run NHS East Riding of Yorkshire, surveyed more than 2,000 teens from both affluent and poor areas and found that 46 percent of girls and 38 percent of boys said being a parent is the topic they are most interested in learning more about.

“The findings suggest the current emphasis in schools on the mechanics of intercourse including how to use a condom does not match the priorities of youngsters,” the Mail reports.

In the survey, nearly half of girls said they would like to see their sex education curriculum  focus on the consequences of pregnancy rather than the biology of sex.

Experts were even more surprised to find that the majority of teens support “moral” ideas about having sex.

For instance, more than two-thirds of boys and girls said “first sex should be both special and planned.” Three out of five girls and almost half of boys said they would only have sex in a long term serious relationship. Fewer than one in six boys said sex was the only way to be satisfied in a relationship, with just one in 20 girls agreeing.

Only 34 percent of boys said they wanted more information about sexual intercourse and 41 percent of girls said they wanted more information about the morning after pill. Ways in which HIV infections can be passed was the third most important topic for girls and boys. In fourth place was more information about “sexual feelings” followed by abortion.

Dr. Julie Jomeen of Hull University, where the survey was carried out, said the findings were important because a national strategy to cut teenage pregnancy has failed and sexually transmitted diseases among young people is on the rise in that country. However, she still insisted that the usual “safe sex” curriculum was best.

“There is quite clearly sexual activity in school age children,” she told the Mail. “Knowledge obtained from sex and relationship education and other sources might not stop that activity but it does seem that those children with a greater insight are more likely to use safe sex practices, such as seeking advice about contraception, and to engage more with health services.’

But the survey results were indeed telling and may result in increased calls for programs that better meet the needs of teens. 

Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, said: ‘Young people are clearly tiring of the negative messages they are receiving about pregnancy and parenthood from sex educators obsessed with contraception. For too long, government policy has all too often been encouraging and facilitating casual sex.”

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