142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Influence of the “sex talk” on sexual perceptions

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Sunday, November 16, 2014

Nancy Moore, MPH, CPH , Department: Health Promotion and Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Ashley Lima, MPH , Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Jessica Legge Muilenburg, PhD , Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Sex education is a controversial topic, and many schools have their own idea of what sex education should look like. Often, parents will rely on the school system to educate their children about sex or abstinence. This study sought to understand how “the talk” influenced women’s sexual experiences and perceptions. Snowball sampling methods and convenience sampling methods were used to recruit eleven undergraduate women to participate in hour-long, semi-structured interviews. During the interviews, women discussed learning about sex through school, parents, and media. Using feminist theory, a thematic analysis of the interview data was conducted. The various ways women learned about sex in school communicated a lack of a standard curriculum. Some women had a more comprehensive approach; whereas, other women received either abstinence-only or virtually no form of sex education. Not only were schools lacking in how they educated about sex, parental communication about sex was deficient, forcing women to rely on peers and various forms of media to learn about sex. For one woman the influence of religion on "the talk" influenced her perceptions about sex. A few women expressed thinking sex was awkward, repulsive, or shameful because of the way sex was portrayed to them. Given the different ways women are educated about sex, college sexual health programs should focus more on re-educating college women about sexual behaviors and the ways they can protect themselves from disease and unplanned pregnancies. Furthermore, future interventions should focus on encouraging women to be comfortable discussing safer sexual practices.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the influence of how sex is discussed on women's perceptions about sex.

Keyword(s): Women's Health, Sexual Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked on multiple research projects studying college students and, more specifically, college women. I am currently working on my dissertation research, which is focused on understanding the issues women have when it comes to sex, relationships, and condom use. More importantly, my dissertation is focused on developing a novel intervention to address the barriers women have with sex, relationships, and condom use.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.