Health educators should teach children to avoid sex acts that they think might be unsafe, including masturbation, according to new research from the American Psychological Association.
In a report released on Monday, the APA said that in order to teach young people about sex, educators must show them that certain behaviors, including sharing a condom or getting a vasectomy, are “safe and effective.”
“There is a strong case to be made that the safety of sexual activity is a legitimate educational goal, and this is the way we should teach that,” APA president Robert A. Krueger said in a statement.
“For example, it’s a good idea to teach students that it is possible to have multiple orgasms without having sex, even with partners who are at the same risk of infection.”
The study, “Why Sex Education is Important,” examined the relationship between sex education and young people’s perceptions of sex.
The findings are based on data from more than 15,000 students at over 10,000 schools, which included students ages 4 to 13.
Among the findings:Teachers are more likely to tell students about the risks of risky sexual behaviors than they are about the benefits of doing so.
The APA recommends that teachers explain the risks and benefits of sex and the risks associated with using condoms and birth control, as well as discuss sex education as part of their curricula.
It also recommends that educators teach students how to use sex education to make healthy decisions and build healthy relationships.
More from The Associated Press: