Thursday, April 26, 2007

Sexual education

I've had an interesting debate recently about gun control. My opponent suggested that people who own guns and are familiar with them and have "gun education" are more likely to use them safely and respect how dangerous they are. This reminded me of the debate on how early kids should receive sex education. Are they more likely to experiment earlier if they are exposed to it, or are they safer if they do, or both. To address this question I used data from the Durex survey. More specifically I looked at the age of first exposure to sex ed and age of loss of virginity in 41 countries. First a few facts:
  • the average age of sex education is 13.2
  • Asian students receive education last, with Vietnam trailing at 16
  • Nordic European countries are the earliest, with Germany leading at 11.3
  • The average age to lose virginity is 17.3
  • The same trend is observed with the loss of virginity, with India at 19.8 and Iceland at 15.6

At first glance there is a strong correlation (R^2=0.7) with sex ed and loss of virginity. But I would argue that it is not causal, because if you look into the details all countries wait 4.20 years between theory and practise with a very small standard deviation of 0.59 . This to me suggests that countries are pretty good at introducing the subject well in advance, and do so according to the local cultures rather than a universal standard age...