Medical students’ perceptions and preferences for sexual health education

Brian Zamboni, Katelyn Bezek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Sexual health topics are not well-covered in US medical schools. Research has not typically asked medical students what sexual health topics they would like addressed and their preferred methods of sexual health education. This study attempted to address this deficit via an online survey of medical students at an institution where little sexual health education is offered. Participants reported receiving the most education in endocrinology and sexually transmitted infections, but they also saw the following topics as important: sexual development, child sexual abuse, healthy sexuality, male sexual dysfunction and female dysfunction. Participants were more confident in talking to adults about sexual health matters than children, and more uncomfortable talking to opposite sex patients. Perceived barriers to sexual health education in medical school included a busy curriculum, other topics being seen as more important, religious influences, discomfort with sexuality and unqualified teaching faculty. Participants favoured training strategies that included panels of experts, panels of patients and role-plays conducted by seasoned professionals in sexual health. To reduce the barriers to sexual health education in US medical schools, educators need to highlight the relevance and importance of sexual health topics to the future work of physicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-385
Number of pages15
JournalSex Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 4 2017


  • Medical school
  • sex education
  • sexual health
  • training
  • USA


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