And while Kentucky parents may think their children are learning about sex in the classroom because Kentucky mandates sex education, they may not realize that the state has no set curriculum for fact-based, comprehensive sex education, and the only thing required to be taught is abstinence -- an approach that has been proven ineffective, Aaron Yarmuth reports for Leo Weekly in an in-depth article about sex education in the state.
This lack of parent-teen communication about sex has prompted a study in Clark County that will include classes to help parents become more comfortable talking about sex with their children, Whitney Leggett reports for The Winchester Sun.
The classes will be led by Shannon Phelps of Winchester as part of her research to earn a doctorate in interdisciplinary education sciences from the University of Kentucky, Leggett reports. It is funded by a $15,700 grant from the Clark County Community Foundation.
"The overall goals of the program are to increase frequency and quality of parent-child sexual health communication, improve parents’ comfort and confidence in their communication with their children about sexual health topics and increase openness of sexual communication between parents and their children," Leggett writes. "Topics will range from abstinence to safe sex, contraception, resisting peer pressure and communicating with potential partners, among others."
“Research tells us that children, especially adolescents, who have parents who communicate with them about sexual health topics have better sexual health outcomes,” Phelps told Leggett. “That follows logic... Sometimes parents are hesitant to talk to their children for fear that they’ll go and have risky sexual behaviors, but research tells us the opposite.”
Phelps told Leggett that studies show that when parents talk to their children about sex, "it can delay the onset of sexual behaviors and reduce unintended outcomes like sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies," Leggett writes.
For more information email Phelps at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 859-621-1065.
And there is an obvious disconnect related to birth control. Kentucky ranks seventh in teen births, at 39.5 births per 1,000 females aged 15 to 19, according to America's Health Rankings. The 2015 YRBS found that 14.5 percent of high school students did not use any birth- control during the last time they had sexual intercourse.