Sexual literacy focus of public health survey

What adults know about human sexuality and sexual health can impact how sexually literate their children are, which in turn can have dramatic effects in reducing unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. With that in mind, researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Nebraska Adult Sexual Literacy Project (NASLiP) want to find out what Nebraska adults really know and what gaps exist.

The NASLiP is a collaborative project between the Midlands Sexual Health Research Collaborative (MSHRC) and the Nebraska Sexual Health Coalition (NSHC).

On Jan. 10, the Nebraska Adult Sexual Literacy survey will be mailed to approximately 3,000 randomly selected households across the state. All Nebraska communities are being targeted with additional efforts focused on Douglas County. The 88-question online survey is available in English and Spanish and does include sexually explicit questions. It’s estimated the survey will take no longer than 15 minutes to complete.

Through this survey, researchers hope to find out what adults do know and what they feel comfortable in sharing with their children.

“Once we establish what adults know and where they may be lacking in knowledge, we can work with our partners to develop interventions and increase the sexual literacy of Nebraskans,” said Christopher Fisher, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the UNMC College of Public Health and a MSHRC member.

Dr. Fisher and colleagues are collaborating with Adi Pour Ph.D., director of the Douglas County Health Department and a NSHC member, and Dylan Zaner, an undergraduate student in the public health program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Dr. Fisher said parents need to be well educated in all areas of human sexuality and health so they can provide accurate information to their children and help prevent the spread of illness.

Awareness of the need to assess the state’s sexual literacy grew out of the June 2012 sexual health summit, Dr. Fisher said.  That gathering of health practitioners, educators, local government organizations, and researchers determined that adult sexual literacy was the most important issue to be addressed.

“The group theorized that sexually literate adults would be able to have accurate conversations with young people, policy makers and partners, and that would lead to a reduction in unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections,” Dr. Fisher said.

For more information on the survey, contact Dr.Fisher at cfisherm@unmc.edu or 402.559.3835.

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Lisa Spellman
UNMC Public Relations
(402) 559-4353