Sexual interests among adolescents, as among adults, can vary greatly.
• “Formal” sexual health education is instruction that takes place in a school, youth center, church or other community setting. “Emerging Evidence, Lessons and Practice in Comprehensive Sexuality Education, a global review.” UNESCO, 2015.
This type of instruction provides a central source of information for teens. Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, In Good Company: Who Supports Comprehensive Sexuality Education? Office of Adolescent Health, Evaluation and performance measurement.
• In 2011-2013, more than 80% of adolescents aged 15–19 had received formal instruction about STDs, HIV or how to say no to sex.
In contrast, only 55% of young men and 60% of young women received formal instruction about methods of birth control. • Between 2006-20-2013, there were significant declines in adolescent females’ reports of receiving formal instruction about birth control, saying no to sex, STDs and HIV/AIDS.
For example, the share of rural teens receiving instruction about birth control declined from 71% to 48% among females, and 59% to 45% among males. • Formal instruction may not be skills-based; only 50% of teen females and 58% of teen males received formal instruction about how to use a condom. • Many sexually experienced teens (43% of males and 57% of females) do not receive formal instruction about contraception before they first have sex; fewer received instruction about where to get birth control (31% males, 46% females). • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, instruction on sexual health topics including human sexuality, HIV or STD prevention and pregnancy prevention is more commonly required in high school than in middle or elementary school. • In 2014, 72% of U. public and private high schools taught pregnancy prevention; 76% taught abstinence as the most effective method to avoid pregnancy, HIV and other STDs; 61% taught about contraceptive efficacy; and 35% taught students how to correctly use a condom as part of required instruction. • At the middle school level, 38% of schools taught pregnancy prevention; 50% taught abstinence as the most effective method to avoid pregnancy, HIV and other STDs; 26% taught about contraceptive efficacy; and 10% taught students how to correctly use a condom as part of required instruction. • Among schools requiring instruction about pregnancy prevention, the average class time for this topic was 4.2 hours in high schools and 2.7 hours in middle schools. • Eighty-eight percent of schools allow parents to exclude their children from sexual health education. • The share of schools providing sexual health education declined from 2000-2014, across topics ranging from puberty and abstinence to how to use a condom.  Adolescents may receive information about sexual health topics from a range of sources beyond formal instruction. Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2015.