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Sex Education Needs To Be Way More Graphic, Researchers Say

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Grace Carr Reporter
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Sex education must talk about all the elements of sex, even the graphic details, because teenagers and young adults are trying non-conventional sex way more frequently than generations before them, according to a U.K. study.

“At a time when much sex and relationships education is being updated, keeping pace with current trends in sexual practices is crucial so that curricula are tailored to the realities of young people’s experiences,” said lead researcher Dr. Ruth Lewis, according to the Telegraph.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the University College London studied the behavior of young adults starting in 1990 and found that their activities have changed significantly, attributing these changes largely to the rise in pornography. The researchers used interviews with more than 45,000 people and nationally-representative data from the National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal) to compose their study.

“By shedding light on when some young people are having sex and what kinds of sex they are having, our study highlights the need for accurate sex and relationships education that provides opportunities to discuss consent and safety in relation to a range of sexual practices,” Lewis said.

The number of young adults ages 16 to 24 experimenting with non-traditional sex has doubled since 1990, according to the study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The median age for first sexual experiences has changed little in the past 25 years, however, and currently sits at age 16.

“The changes in practices we see here are consistent with the widening of other aspects of young people’s sexual experience, and are perhaps not surprising given the rapidly changing social context and the ever-increasing number of influences on sexual behaviour,” said Kaye Wellings, a Professor of Sexual and Reproductive Health at LSHTM. It’s important to keep up with the sexual practices of youngsters to help protect their health and wellbeing, Wellings also noted.

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