Crossing Cultural Barriers: An analysis of sex education practices in the United State and Mexico

TitleCrossing Cultural Barriers: An analysis of sex education practices in the United State and Mexico
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsGaudenti, Dawn
Tertiary AuthorsAhern, Kevin
Academic DepartmentBiology
DegreeBA, International Studies in Biology
Number of Pages50
Date Published11/2007
UniversityOregon State University
Thesis TypeUndergraduate
Keywordsbiology, Mexico, sex education, United States

Adolescents are faced with many life changing decisions as they prepare for adulthood. The choice to engage in sexual activity is among the most difficult of these decisions. Risks, such as unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and other physical complications associated with early onset sexual activity are a harsh reality for many of the youth today (13). Adolescents should be informed of the consequences of sexual activity before deciding to engage in it.
Research has shown that adolsecents may not be receiving an adequate sex education. Only 62% of sexually active females in the US have reported receiving formal education about contraception before their first sexual encounter (9). The US is the leader in teen pregnancy in the developed world and each year nearly 9 million STIs occur in adolescents in the US (9). Adolescents in Mexico have exhibited similarities in their rates of STI transmission and teen pregnancy as the youth in the US with high teen pregnancy and STI transmission rates (4). Studies conducted throughout the US and Mexico have provided hope for an improved system of sex education. Investigators have found that a comprehensive sex education program that covers contraception, condoms, and HIV/AIDS/STIs, while stressing abstinence may delay the onset of sexual activity and increase condom use among sexually active teens. Effective programs should utilize different avenues to deliver content and should include a component for parent involvement. Successful programs should be introduced at the age of 12 and should continue throughout high school. The importance of teaching life skills such as refusal and negotiation techniques, and self-efficacy have been integral parts of effective sex education programs.