40% of 17-year-olds have never discussed sex with their parents - according to study

A new study by the HSE has revealed some shocking statistics about how teenagers learn about sex and relationships. 

According to the Talking About Sex and Sexual Behaviour Among Young People In Ireland study conducted by the ESRI and HSE, only 60% of 17-year-olds have discussed sex and relationships with their parents.

This is only a slight increase from 45% who had discussed the subject with their parents by the age of 13.

The study also found that those who do talk to their parents about sex are significantly more likely to use contraception. 

It was also quite sad but not as surprising to hear that a whopping 31% of teen girls felt regret over the timing of when they first had sex, compared to the 16% of young men who felt the same.

It was also worth noting that while the majority of girls felt comfortable going to their mothers to talk about the subject, around 60% of young men said that they found it either difficult or very difficult to go to their fathers to talk about sex.

According to the study’s co-author Emer Smyth, “a significant group of young people are not receiving information or advice on sex from their parents,” which means that formal sexual education in schools is even more important.

It was noted that the study found that among those who were sexually active, just under 80% reported always using contraception and 56% reported using a condom “all the time”.

Anne Nolan, another co-author explains, “The study findings show us the quality of the relationship between parents and their children is a key determinant of whether discussions about sex and relationships take place and how easy young people find it to speak to their parents about sex.”

The reality is that at age 17, nearly 25% of boys and 20% of girls cited the internet, television, films and books as their main source of information about sex.

Moira Germaine, education and training manager at the HSE’s Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme announced today that the HSE is introducing a range of resources aimed at supporting parents in talking with their children about sexuality, relationships and growing up.

To access these resources or for more information, visit www.healthpromotion.ie and www.sexualwellbeing.ie.