Parents aren’t teaching girls about birth control during ‘the talk’

A study by OnePoll on behalf of Paragard IUD examined the inadequacies of women’s sexual education. (Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash)

Over half of women (56%) feel they were not given an adequate education when it comes to different types of birth control methods.

A new study of 2,000 women ages 18–50 examined the overall attitudes and emotions associated with sexual education and found that one in two felt they were improperly taught about sexual health.

Forty-six percent revealed they never had a “sex talk” with either of their parents and of those that did (38%), the average age was 12 years old.

The survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the Paragard® IUD found that 54% of those who had a parental sex talk, were given a book about bodily functions.

A third (34%) of women who had a sex talk with their parents were shown an awkward video, while 46% said their parents used euphemisms to explain sex.

When it came to talk content, it varied. Three in five (61%) said their parents told them what sex was, but less than half (47%) were taught about birth control.

Results also found sexual education in school was uneven seeing as 40% said a lack of education in school was a top contributor to their lack of sexual education.

The average respondent had a sexual education class in ninth grade. Forty-four percent of respondents said they felt the awkward topic contributed to inadequacies in their education.

Other elements that played a role in sexual education gaps included religious reasons (42%), shame (36%), not knowing all the available options (34%).

The knowledge rift in sexual education only seems to widen around birth control. Women 41–50 were 33% more likely to be taught about birth control by their parents than respondents 18–25.

Nearly one in five (19%) said they never learned about birth control at all, while only 16% said they were taught by their parents and 14% learned in school.

The average respondent has changed birth control three times.

Forty-one percent admitted they changed methods after receiving a recommendation from a friend, whereas only 38% took a recommendation from their doctor. A third even did their own research about available birth control forms.

In spite of women starting to take charge of their sexual health, 69% did not know there is such a thing as prescription birth control that’s hormone-free.

Hormone-free birth control is something women seem open to exploring seeing as 58% would like to learn more.


1. Sexually transmitted diseases 56%

2. Pregnancy and birth 51%

3. What is sex 50%

4. Sexual anatomy 47%

5. Sexual orientations 47%

6. Consent 30%


1. What is sex 60%

2. Pregnancy and birth 59%

3. Sexual orientations 57%

4. Birth control 48%

5. Sexual anatomy 44%

6. Consent 41%

7. Sexually transmitted diseases 39%


1. I have never learned about birth control 19%

2. My parents 16%

3. School 14%

4. Friends 9%

5. Internet 8%

6. Family physician 8%

7. Extended family 7%

8. TV show/movie 7%

9. Magazine article 6%

10. A sibling 4%

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