How gay and bisexual men compensate for the lack of meaningful sex education in a socially conservative state

Joseph M. Currin, Randolph D. Hubach, André R. Durham, Katherine E. Kavanaugh, Zachary Vineyard, Julie M. Croff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The information shared in schools on sex education in the USA is highly variable depending on the state and sometimes city in which a student lives. Gay and bisexual students living in a socially conservative, primarily rural state such as Oklahoma often receive little information about sexual health information that pertains to their behaviours unless it is discussing the dangers of sex. Using a qualitative approach, 20 gay and bisexual men currently residing in Oklahoma completed semi-structured interviews about their experiences with sex education and alternate ways to compensate for lack of information provided. Participants noted an awareness of the lack of meaningful sex education or if it was offered, a primary focus on abstinence-only until marriage heteronormative curricula. Participants described various ways they compensated for lack of sex education including accessing pornography and information from the internet. With the current socio-political environment of Oklahoma, it is unlikely wholesale changes to the sex education curricula can be made. The importance of public health professionals using the internet and peer educators to deliver inclusive and informative sexual health information remains salient and viable for men who reside in socio-politically conservative areas like Oklahoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-681
Number of pages15
JournalSex Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2 Nov 2017


  • HIV
  • STIs
  • Sex education
  • abstinence-only until marriage sex education
  • effects
  • gay and bisexual men
  • prevention


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