College Sex Education

Since there is no uniform sex education in the United States for those in elementary through high school, students enter college with different sex-related educations, experiences and backgrounds.

Among the sex-related issues in universities are those of what constitutes sexual assault and what is consent since “one in five female undergrads were victims of sexual assault or misconduct.”1

Another college issue is sexually transmitted diseases. “The CDC reports that the age demographic of 15-24 year olds account for over half of new cases of sexually transmitted diseases diagnosed each year. Considering there are approximately 20 million of these diagnoses, it is clear that sexually transmitted diseases pose a significant threat to those who have not learned about practicing safe sex. This is what makes sex education pertinent to the college campus,” according to an article on the Berkeley.edu Public Health Advocate website.2

The following articles should provide some information on the sex-related issues on college campuses and how some are addressing the issues of sexual violence and consent.

Footnotes: 1. “The Consent Debate: College Students, Experts, Activists Discuss Sexual Consent On Campus Amid Backdrop Of Alcohol And Hook-Up Culture,” abcnews.go.com, 2/27/2016; 2. “Sex Education On The College Campus,” Public Health Advocate, berkeley.edu, 12/16/2016


  1. Sex Discussed Here

    “If you’re like most people, you got information (both truth and myths) from embarrassed parents, confused friends, ‘too little too late’ high school sex ed classes, romantic movies, and perhaps your own experimentation. In this lively, interactive program that’s tailored to the specific needs of your campus or group, our sex educators explode the most common lies about sex, reveal the truths college students should — but often don’t — know about sex, and share secrets to making sex and relationships both healthy and fun for students of all genders and sexual orientations.”

    Online Resource, sexualityeducation.com, accessed on 6/20/2018

  2. STIs Among Young Adults Continue To Spike — & Colleges Can No Longer Ignore It

    “In the U.S., only 22 states and the District of Columbia require sex and HIV-prevention education in grade school, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Of those states, 20 require information on condoms and contraception be taught. Twenty-six states require abstinence be stressed when teaching students about sex. … The imbroglio between students experiencing freedom for the first time and not being armed with proper information amounts to what Dorian Solot — a sex educator and co-creator of Sex Discussed Here — compares to ‘exploring the wilderness.'”

    Ashley Alese Edwards, refinery29.com, 4/5/2018

  3. The “Consent. Ask For It” Campaign Wants To Help Spread Consent Culture On College Campuses — And Here’s How You Can Get The Conversation Going Too

    “That’s why Trojan, the popular condom brand, and Advocates for Youth, a national non-profit that helps educate young people about sexual and reproductive health, are working together. They’ve teamed up to help spread consent culture with their ‘Consent. Ask For It.’ campaign. This is the fourth year that Trojan has run the campaign and the third year that they’ve teamed up with Advocates for Youth — and, together, they pack a really impressive punch.”

    Lea Rose Emery, bustle.com, 4/5/2018

  4. After #MeToo, College Students Wonder: What Does Consent Mean, Exactly?

    “About half of the 59 students I interviewed said they didn’t know if their college had an official policy on consent. And more than half said their parents have never offered advice or talked to them about it. Although only 27 percent said their opinions on what constitutes consent had shifted as a result of #MeToo, 39 percent said their behavior in intimate situations has changed.”

    Brooke Knisley, bostonglobe.com, 3/21/2018

  5. 5 Things College Freshmen Should Know About Sexual Assault

    “Sexual assault on college campuses is a growing problem that parents and students need to take the time to learn more about. And because U.S. colleges and universities are still trying to catch up with the changing sexual climate, the responsibility for educating incoming freshmen about the risks of sexual assault falls on the parents and the students themselves. What’s more, parents and students need to realize that sexual assault on college campuses is different than the commonly-held view of rape.”

    Sherri Gordon, verywellmind.com, 2/16/2018

  6. COMMENTARY: Time To Consider Teaching Consent 101

    “As a digest of the Antioch College’s Sexual Offense Prevention Policy, ‘Consent 101’ underscores the necessity of asking and giving assent to all levels of sexual behavior. … Developed by a group of women students at Antioch in 1991, this policy was originally met with ridicule, mocked on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in 1993, and for years after scorned as a textbook example of political correctness run amok. Now, 30 years later, this policy has become a national model for how to educate college students and employees about how to avoid the devastating and dehumanizing effects of sexual harassment and assault.”

    Thomas Manley, mydaytondailynews.com, 12/18/2017

  7. Let’s Talk About Sex In Higher Education

    “Vanessa Grigoriadis embedded herself in the campus environment, speaking candidly with students and administrators to find that the definition of sexual assault itself is anything but clear-cut. And therein lies the problem. She says there is no consensus about what constitutes sexual assault on campus, how common it is or how it should be prevented. The book is a sometimes brutally frank examination of the world of campus sexual activity and how the idea of consent has changed and continues to change.”

    Tim Goral, universitybusiness.com, 11/16/2017

  8. Abstinence-Only Education Follows Students Into College

    “For students coming out of adolescence and going into adulthood, it is important to know how to be safe in those types of situations in order to avoid life-altering events such as an unwanted or unaffordable child or illness. However, many college campuses, including ASU, are taking the initiative to offer classes on sexual health as well as free condoms and STI testing. As students go from high school to college, they are more removed from the notion that abstinence is the only reliable method of preventing unwanted consequences and instead introduced to safe practices.”

    Karishma Albal, statepress.com, 11/12/2017

  9. College Students’ Sexual Consent Communication And Perceptions of Sexual Double Standards: A Qualitative Investigation

    “Affirmative consent standards adopted by colleges and universities are meant to decrease miscommunication that may lead to sexual assault. However, they may not take into account sociocultural factors that influence consent. In particular, the role of gender norms needs to be better understood.”

    Kristen N. Jozkowski, Tiffany L. Marcantonio, Mary E. Hunt, guttmacher.org, 10/26/2017

  10. Rice University Unveiling Required Sexuality Course As Preventive Step To Curb Assaults, Harassment

    “Rice University plans to add a required freshman course covering healthy relationships and sexual consent, a rare move as universities nationwide struggle to stem campus rapes and harassment.”

    Lindsay Ellis, houstonchronicle.com, 12/23/2016

  11. Sex Education On The College Campus

    “The CDC reports that the age demographic of 15-24 year olds account for over half of new cases of sexually transmitted diseases diagnosed each year. Considering there are approximately 20 million of these diagnoses, it is clear that sexually transmitted diseases pose a significant threat to those who have not learned about practicing safe sex. This is what makes sex education pertinent to the college campus.”

    Jacob Deme, berkeley.edu, 12/16/2016

  12. Sexual Assault Education Can’t Start In College

    “If students entered college with the types of skills that the NSES and the Green Dot program teach, half the battle that college activists are trying to fight would already be won. These high school graduates would already have the solid education about interpersonal violence that so many campus activist groups are trying to teach at the college level and would be ready to step up as an active bystander during even the first few months of school (which are the highest risk time for sexual violence). … By denying K-12 students an education about interpersonal violence and the tools to prevent violence or seek support, we are not only failing the 44 percent of victims who are under 18, but we are also failing the 68 percent of high school graduates who do not attend college and do not have access to the resources that colleges are beginning to provide.”

    Abbie Starker, washingtonmonthly.com, 3/2/2016

  13. The Consent Debate: College Students, Experts, Activists Discuss Sexual Consent On Campus Amid Backdrop Of Alcohol And Hook-Up Culture

    “According to a sweeping survey conducted at 27 universities by The American Association of Universities, more than one in five female undergrads were victims of sexual assault or misconduct. In the majority of cases, the victim knows her attacker, whether as acquaintance, classmate, friend, boyfriend or ex-boyfriend, according to a White House report on college sexual assault. … At the core of dozens of college sexual assault cases is the issue of consent.”

    Juju Chang, Melia Patria, Katie Yu, Erin Brady, Durrell Dawson, Lauren Effron, abcnews.go.com, 2/27/2016

  14. College Students Need Sex Ed, Too

    “So this is what we’re looking at on any given college campus: students who arrive knowing very little, if anything, about how to care for their sexual health; students who have not received any real instruction about consent and sexual violence; students who have almost limitless freedom to explore their sexualities and might not have the tools to understand and enforce their personal boundaries.”

    Samaria, urge.org, 9/18/2014