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The following terms and definitions provide a basic understanding of the types of sexuality education programs that are currently offered in schools and communities. It is important to look past labels and find out what young people in your community really are, or are not, learning in their sexuality education programs.
In 1991, SIECUS convened the National Guidelines Task Force, bringing together experts in the fields of adolescent development, sexuality, and education.
Young people also learn about sexuality from other sources such as friends, television, music, books, advertisements and the Internet.
The Task Force published the back to top The content of sexuality education varies depending on the community and the age of the students in the programs.
The federal government does not have a direct role in local sexuality education.
Instead, it leaves such control to state and local bodies.
(To find out laws and policies around sexuality education in a particular state, see SIECUS’ State Profiles) On the local level, decisions are made by school boards, administrators, and teachers.
Many districts have also created special advisory committees to review the materials used in school health and sexuality education courses.
More than 20 percent of both males and females reported receiving abstinence instruction without receiving instruction on birth control, and only 62 percent of sexually experienced female teens reported receiving instruction about contraception before they first had sex.