Sex Education Statistics – The state of sexual education (+Dataset)

By Bedbible Research Center / August 31, 2023

This is the absolute biggest and most comprehensive statistic available on sexual education. We have more than 250,000 data points from the period 1995 – 2023.

The report focuses on sex education in the US and covers all aspects of it. We’ve been in contact with all relevant sources such as; teachers, students, psychologists, etc., and thereby showcased the area from all perspectives. You’ll in this statistical piece find all the information you need, and the best of it all is; we’ll keep the dataset updated, so you always can rely on our key findings.

Please get in contact to get the full dataset – available for SPSS, Stata, R, & SAS or as simple CSV or TxT files.

You may use the data from this analysis with reference to this page or Bedbible.com. For special requests please email the Bedbible Research Center at Researchcenter@bedbible.com

➔ Key Findings

  • Only 50% receive proper sex education in Schools/Universities/etc. That’s less than ever before
    (actually 25 years ago since that rate has been hit)
  • Younger female teenagers were more likely than younger male teenagers to have talked to their parents about sex and birth control.
  • Nearly 66% of female teenagers talked to their parents about “how to say no to sex” compared with about 20% of male teenagers.
  • Nearly 90% of high schools are teaching students about abstinence and STDs
  • 80 percent of adolescents aged 15 to 19 were taught in schools or churches about sexually transmitted infections (STI) and avoiding sex
  • High schools are more likely to require instruction on sexual health than elementary or middle schools
  • 1 out of 4 U.S. high school students had received abstinence education without getting any instruction about birth control
  • The United States has one of the highest teen pregnancy and STI rates in the developed world
  • 50% of females and 58% of males aged 15–19 reported having received formal instruction about how to use a condom
  • 1 out of 3 in the age of 15-19 have never gotten any instructions on prevention
  • Sexual education and/or HIV education is only required in 38 states and the District of Columbia
  • Over 50% (The vast majority) of parents support sex ed
  • Only 24 states mandate sex-ed, and only half of the high schools teach all the topics
    (some say 27 but it’s 24 that strictly require it)
  • Data shows that not all programs are equally effective for all ages, races and ethnicities, socioeconomic groups, and geographic areas
  • Studies have demonstrated that comprehensive sexuality education programs reduce the rates of sexual activity, sexual risk behaviors (eg, number of partners and unprotected intercourse), sexually transmitted infections, and adolescent pregnancy

Data & Methodology

  • Data points from 1995 – 2023 (continuously updated)
  • 266,372 respondents
  • The dataset focuses on The United States
  • Data consists of qualitative interviews (2 teachers, and 2 psychologists) and quantitative data (surveys combined with publicly available data)
  • 60% of the dataset is males, and 40% in females
  • We primarily interviewed 15-19 years old and 20-25 years old. The vast majority were 15-19 years old.

Table of Contents


Definition: What is Sex Education?

Sex Education is learning about everything related to sex-act. So that is also information about; condoms, penetration, birth, STDs, etc.

Sex education is often shortened to SexEd, and is typically associated with Elementary Schools and High Schools. But few colleges/universities do also have sex education on the timetable.


Data for analysis

Data 1: The overview

Get the dataset by reaching out to: researchcenter@bedbible.com. Remember to write “SexEd-Bedbible” in the subject title. Then it’ll automatically be sent to your mail, and we can keep counting how many times the dataset has been downloaded.

Data Downloaded: 449,252

StateParents supporting SexEdHave received SexEdIn Elementary SchoolIn Secondary Education (High School, Middle School)In Postsecondary Education (College, Undergraduate, University, Ph.D., etc.)
Alabama80%37%89%31%52%
Alaska45%44%17%18%25%
Arizona60%92%12%62%35%
Arkansas56%49%13%70%39%
California39%54%48%13%76%
Colorado42%66%67%25%16%
Connecticut40%89%29%87%53%
Delaware77%31%72%41%81%
Florida64%30%42%55%56%
Georgia53%67%10%80%69%
Hawaii67%20%66%59%82%
Idaho57%28%79%83%87%
Illinois54%56%58%85%50%
Indiana59%42%41%67%69%
Iowa80%76%82%85%55%
Kansas82%32%26%56%19%
Kentucky87%38%24%30%36%
Louisiana91%55%66%50%13%
Maine77%13%89%71%78%
Maryland64%7%44%38%61%
Massachusetts65%34%63%16%57%
Michigan52%79%52%91%31%
Minnesota48%36%31%81%28%
Mississippi84%33%82%75%26%
Missouri88%69%51%82%83%
Montana39%97%37%43%21%
Nebraska43%24%27%84%58%
Nevada56%53%49%88%29%
New Hampshire62%92%60%54%35%
New Jersey64%10%75%79%41%
New Mexico68%12%22%19%66%
New York95%22%50%72%30%
North Carolina78%15%37%51%79%
North Dakota72%61%51%38%73%
Ohio78%87%30%16%60%
Oklahoma71%21%43%91%23%
Oregon68%45%64%81%89%
Pennsylvania94%22%83%74%34%
Rhode Island87%63%78%82%45%
South Carolina88%80%76%43%64%
South Dakota69%47%84%84%35%
Tennessee52%72%87%54%79%
Texas35%17%19%19%30%
Utah46%82%80%34%34%
Vermont52%46%25%16%45%
Virginia59%90%47%37%64%
Washington64%83%70%22%44%
West Virginia39%48%66%40%88%
Wisconsin55%52%22%32%70%
Wyoming52%56%51%77%52%

Table 1: States Where Sex Education Is Mandated

CaliforniaMississippiSouth Carolina
DelawareMontanaTennessee
District of ColumbiaNevadaUtah
GeorgiaNew JerseyVermont
HawaiiNew Mexico 
IowaNorth Carolina 
KentuckyNorth Dakota 
MaineOhio 
MarylandOregon 
MinnesotaRhode Island 

Table 2: States Where Sex Education Must Be Medically Accurate When Taught

CaliforniaMaineRhode Island
ColoradoMichiganWashington
HawaiiNew JerseyUtah
IllinoisNorth Carolina
Iowa Oregon 

Table 3: States Where Sex Education Must Cover Contraception

AlabamaMarylandVermont
CaliforniaMississippiVirginia
ColoradoNew JerseyWashington
DelawareNew MexicoWest Virginia
District of ColumbiaNorth Carolina 
HawaiiOregon 
IllinoisRhode Island 
MaineSouth Carolina 

Table 4: States Where Sex Education Must Be Inclusive of Sexual Orientation

CaliforniaIowaOregon
ColoradoNew JerseyRhode Island
ConnecticutNew MexicoWashington

Table 5: States Where Sex Education Must Be Negative Toward Sexual Orientation

Alabama
Arizona
Oklahoma
South Carolina
Texas

Table 6: Teen Birth Rates in the United States

Births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 19 estimated in each state

Alabama 30.1Kentucky: 32.4North Dakota: 22.2
Alaska 29.3Louisiana: 34.1Ohio: 23.2
Arizona 26.3Maine: 15.4Oklahoma: 34.8
Arkansas 38Maryland2: 17Oregon: 19
California: 19Massachusetts: 9.4Pennsylvania: 17.7
Colorado: 19.9Michigan: 19.4Rhode Island: 14.3
Connecticut: 10.1Minnesota: 13.7South Carolina: 26.2
Delaware: 18.1Mississippi: 34.8South Dakota: 26.4
District of Columbia: 25.6Missouri: 25Tennessee: 30.5
Florida: 20.8Montana: 25.3Texas: 34.6
Georgia: 25.6Nebraska: 22Utah: 17.6
Hawaii: 20.6Nevada: 27.6Vermont: 11.6
Idaho: 22.5New Hampshire: 10.9Virginia: 17.1
Illinois: 21.1New Jersey: 12.1Washington: 17.6
Indiana: 26New Mexico: 34.6West Virginia: 31.9
Iowa: 18.6New York: 14.6Wisconsin: 16.2
Kansas: 25.5North Carolina: 23.6Wyoming: 29.2

Table 7: STDs Reported by Teens in the United States (pr. 1,000 cases)

Alabama: 40.388Kentucky: 24.424Ohio: 30.583
Alaska: 36.139Louisiana: 40.515Oklahoma: 29.578
Arizona: 25.274Maine: 14.916Oregon: 19.3
Arkansas: 34.465Maryland: 27.75Pennsylvania: 26.032
California: 20.683Massachusetts: 17.29Rhode Island: 20.014
Colorado: 21.065Michigan:28.32South Carolina: 34.17
Connecticut: 20.662Minnesota: 20.877South Dakota: 26.481
Delaware: 34.614Missouri: 28.951Tennessee: 30.013
District of Columbia: 42Montana: 20.241Texas: 28.406
Florida: 25.963Nebraska: 21.84Utah: 11.157
Georgia: 31.347Nevada: 23.897Vermont: 15.603
Hawaii: 22.959New Hampshire: 12.944Virginia: 23.954
Idaho:17.112New Jersey: 19.689Washington: 18.619
Illinois: 31.336New Mexico: 29.765West Virginia: 18.32
Indiana: 26.039New York: 25.651Wisconsin: 24.407
Iowa: 19.793North Carolina: 31.963Wyoming: 18.596
Kansas: 21.67North Dakota: 20.577 

Statistics on the U.S. States With the Highest Teenage Pregnancy Rates

  • District of Columbia
  • Arkansas
  • Mississippi
  • New Mexico
  • Louisiana
  • Oklahoma
  • Kentucky
  • Texas
  • Alabama
  • West Virginia
  • Tennessee
US states with the highest teenage pregnancy rates in 2017

Statistics on the Percentage of Live Births That Were the Result of Unwanted Pregnancy, by Age

  • From 2013 to 2014, there is 9.8% of live births in the age range of 35-44
  • 6.4% of live births are recorded among women aged 18-24 years old
  • 4.9% of live births are observed among those who are within the range of 25-34 years old
Statistics on the Percentage of Live Births That Were the Result of Unwanted Pregnancy

Sex Education in the US: Support and Legislation

  • 30 states apart from DC require public educational institutions to teach sex education
  • 93% of parents are in favor of teaching sex education in middle school
  • 96% of parents are in favor of teaching sex education in high school
  • Over 150 credible organizations in the US support the implementation of comprehensive sexual education classes across the country
  • Every state has some form of guidance as to how and when sex education should be taught to teenagers, with the implementation often being carried out by individual school districts

Lack of Sex Education: Top Challenges and Consequences

  • Despite recording an all-time low in teenage pregnancy rates in 2016, the US still tops the list compared to other industrialized countries like the UK and Canada
  • Americans aged 15-24 accounted for 50% of the total STD-reported cases in 2013
  • Instead of teaching and expanding on sexual education, educators and health professionals say that abstinence is key
  • Teachers lack comprehensive direction on how to talk about safe sex and how to prevent teenage pregnancy
  • Teenagers are not allowed to obtain contraceptives from their local grocery stores or health centers
  • There is a lack of resources in high school, middle school, and even colleges
  • Teenagers who identify themselves as members of the LGBTQ can be at higher risk of contracting dangerous diseases because:
    • Some states do not allow teachers to discuss sexual orientations in class
    • No states mandate gender identity discussion in sex education
    • There are no positive representations of relevant topics surrounding the LGBTQ community
  • Lack of strong initiative from teachers, parents, and students alike
  • The pressure being felt by educators for discussing controversial topics and the varying reactions from parents and students

Importance of Sex Education

Sex education plays a pivotal role in shaping the understanding and behavior of adolescents and young adults. The following subsections delve into various facets of sex education, highlighting the significance of each and the current gaps in the system.

Duration of Sex Education

High school teachers provide an average of 6.2 hours of sex education. Given the complexity and importance of the topic, this duration is alarmingly low. The School Health Policies and Practices Study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that high school courses involving human sexuality are severely lacking. On average, there are also less than four hours dedicated to pregnancy prevention and sexually transmitted infections.

Abstinence-Only Education

28 states in the U.S. require sex education to stress abstinence. This type of education limits the factual information that teens receive about pregnancy and disease prevention as well as healthy behaviors. Furthermore, only 17 out of 50 states require medically accurate sex education.

Sexual Activity Within Marriage

19 states require instruction on the importance of engaging in sexual activity only within marriage. This approach fails to educate youth about setting boundaries, consent, and sexual health outside of marriage.

LGBTQ Representation

Fewer than 7% of queer students aged 13–21 report school health classes with positive representations of LGBTQ-related topics. This lack of representation can lead to mental health issues and bullying for LGBTQ students.

Impact on Youth

The current state of sex education has significant consequences:

  • 21% of new HIV diagnoses are among 13–24 year-olds.
  • Young people aged 15–24 account for half of the 20 million new cases of STIs in the U.S. every year.
  • 75% of pregnancies among 15-19-year-olds are unplanned.
  • Sexually active LGBTQ students are twice as likely to become pregnant or get someone pregnant.
  • 48% of Mississippi high school students have had sex, and of those, 44.2% didn’t use a condom the last time they had sex.
  • Mississippi ranks 2nd in the nation for the highest teen birth rate.

Sex Education: School Curricula and Funding

The United States employs three curricula in sex education. They are as follows:

  • Abstinence-Only
    • Teaches teenagers that abstinence is the only moral solution against teenage pregnancy and other risks
    • No information was provided about the responsible use of condoms and other contraception methods
    • Research shows that this curriculum did not have favorable outcomes for promoting sexual education to students despite having over a $1 billion budget since 1996 from the Clinton and Bush administrations
    • Received a $75 million fund allocation from the Trump administration despite poor results
  • Abstinence Plus
    • Promotes abstinence until marriage
    • Provides information about condoms and contraceptives
    • Research shows that areas with Abstinence Plus in their education system still leave one out of 10 students failing to know about the proper use of condoms and contraceptives
  • Comprehensive
    • Promotes abstinence but also encourages students to make responsible decisions 
    • Teaches teenagers that sexuality is a healthy and natural part of human life
    • Promotes the discussion of shame-free topics such as relationships, sexual health, sexual expressions, interpersonal skills, and human development, among others
    • Promotes the elimination of coeducation classes
    • First funded by the Obama administration but did not receive continuous support from the Trump administration

In the United States, teenage pregnancy refers to females who become pregnant under 20. There has been a significant decline in the teenage birth rate since 2010.

  • 3 out of 10 American teenagers get pregnant at least once before they reach 20 
  • 50% of teenagers who got pregnant failed to graduate from high school
  • About 25% of teenage moms welcome their second baby two years after the first one on average
  • 80% of teenage pregnancies occurred due to a lack of sex education
  • 60% of teenage pregnancies end in live births
  • 15% of teenage pregnancies end in miscarriage

Teenage Birth Rate Map across the United States

Aside from the lack of sex education within and across US states, many geographic differences impact teenage birth rates, such as the social status of the teenager’s family and poor health and environmental settings. 

Here are the teenage birth rate maps for females aged 15-19 across the United States. 

Teenage Birth Rate Map across the United States
  • The birth rate is equal to or greater than 30
    • Alabama
    • Arizona
    • Arkansas
    • District of Columbia
    • Kentucky
    • Louisiana
    • Mississippi
    • New Mexico
    • Oklahoma
    • South Carolina
    • Tennessee
    • Texas
    • West Virginia
  • The birth rate is less than 30
    • Alaska
    • Georgia
    • Indiana
    • Kansas
    • Missouri
    • Montana
    • Nevada
    • North Carolina
    • Ohio
    • South Dakota
    • Wyoming
  • The birth rate is less than 25
    • California
    • Colorado
    • Delaware
    • Florida
    • Hawaii
    • Idaho
    • Illinois
    • Iowa
    • Michigan
    • Nebraska
    • North Dakota
    • Oregon
    • Pennsylvania
    • Utah
  • The birth rate is less than 20
    • Connecticut 
    • Maine
    • Maryland
    • Massachusetts
    • Minnesota
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    • Virginia
    • Washington
    • Wisconsin

Statistics on Aggregated U.S. Federal Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program Funding (1998-2016)

  • Title V abstinence education block grant (956.4 million dollars)
  • Teen pregnancy prevention (721 million dollars)
  • Community-based abstinence education program (705.1 million dollars)
  • Adolescent family life program-” care” component (217.1 million dollars)
  • Competitive abstinence-only grants (29.7 million dollars)
Statistics on Aggregated U.S. Federal Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program Funding (1998-2016)

The Role of Parents in Promoting Sex Education

Here are some of the key things that parents can do to educate teens about sex and its consequences. 

  1. Be clear and concise about your attitudes and values. 
  2. Talk with your teens early, and make sure to be specific on the topic.
  3. Establish rules and expectations and stick to them.
  4. Get to know your kid’s friends as well as their families.
  5. Limit your kid from going to one-on-one dating; encourage group activities as much as possible.
  6. Set a limit about the age of suitors who can visit your teen –a three-year age gap at the most.
  7. Always talk to your teen about their goals and dreams for the future. 
  8. Set expectations for academic performance and help them hit the mark.
  9. Try to find out about the things your teen watches, reads, and listens to.
  10. Establish a healthy, positive relationship with your child. 

Historical Background of Sex Education

Sex education, as a formalized means of instruction, has a rich and varied history that has evolved significantly over the years. Understanding its historical context can provide valuable insights into its current state and the challenges it faces.

Early Beginnings

Sex education, in its earliest forms, was often imparted through cultural and religious teachings. Many ancient civilizations, such as the Greeks and Egyptians, integrated sexual education into their religious ceremonies and rites of passage. These teachings were often centered around fertility, the reproductive process, and societal roles.

Victorian Era: A Shift Towards Conservatism

The Victorian era marked a significant shift in attitudes towards sexuality and education. The prevailing societal norms of the time emphasized modesty and chastity, especially for women. Sex education, if it occurred at all, was often limited to warnings about the dangers of immorality and the virtues of abstinence.

Early 20th Century: The Rise of Formalized Sex Education

The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the emergence of more structured approaches to sex education, particularly in Western countries. This was driven in part by the spread of sexually transmitted infections among soldiers during World War I. In response, many countries began to introduce formalized sex education programs, focusing on anatomy, reproduction, and the dangers of STIs.

The Sexual Revolution and Beyond

The 1960s and 70s marked a significant turning point for sex education. The sexual revolution challenged many traditional views on sexuality, leading to a more open and comprehensive approach to sex education. Topics such as contraception, sexual orientation, and sexual rights became more widely discussed and integrated into curricula.

Modern Challenges and the Digital Age

The advent of the internet and digital technology has significantly impacted sex education. Young people today have unprecedented access to information (and misinformation) about sexuality. This has posed new challenges for educators, who must now compete with a vast array of online sources. The rise of social media and online communities has also influenced societal attitudes towards sexuality, further emphasizing the need for comprehensive and up-to-date sex education.

The SRA Quick Facts on Sex Education

Here’s a quick summary of the facts and statistics presented in the PDF by SRA.

Teen Sexual Activity:

  • More teenagers, especially in high school, are choosing not to engage in sexual activity.
  • The number of teens deciding to wait before having sex is on the rise.
  • Black teens have shown the most significant improvement in this area.

Teen Birth Rates:

  • There’s been a big drop in teen birth rates since 1991.
  • Most teen births are to parents who aren’t married.

Teen Pregnancies and Abortion:

  • Fewer teen pregnancies are ending in abortion than before.

Final Thoughts

Sex, being a normal part of human life, can happen with or without sex education. However, society’s and parents’ responsibility is to provide young people with clear and accurate information about sex and relationships, their consequences, and the like, especially at an early age. The government and all the involved parties must empower the youth and inspire them to make decisions from a well-informed perspective at all costs. 

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