Date of Award


Document Type

Distinction Paper

Degree Name





Danielle Docka-Filipek

First Committee Member

Danielle Docka-Filipek

Second Committee Member

Suzanne Ashworth

Third Committee Member

Robin Grote


Sex-Positivity, Sex-Negativity, Gender, Sexual Satisfaction, Sex Education, Young Adults, Socialization

Subject Categories

Gender and Sexuality | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Medicine and Health | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Women's Studies



This study was designed to investigate a proposed association between exposure to sexual education, positive information, and materials, and an individual’s level of comfort, sexual satisfaction, and willingness to discuss sexual topics. This study also looked at the influence of various other variables such as gender, sexual orientation, and relationship status. Undergraduates at a small, private Midwestern college were surveyed with questions regarding the context in which they were exposed to various sexual topics as well as their current levels of sexual satisfaction and willingness to discuss sexual material with a friend, family member, intimate partner, or a stranger. The survey consisted of four different sections with fourteen questions and one table to complete. The first section of the survey related to the participants’ demographic information (urban/rural residence, gender, class standing at the university, sexual orientation, and relationship status). The second section was a table where participants were asked to complete regarding various sexual topics they may have been exposed to at some point (contraception, HIV/AIDS, STIs, pregnancy, anatomy, sexual fantasies, sexual positions, and sexual orientations); they then had to match that information with the location of their exposure (parents, friends, middle school, high school, college, religious institution, porn and other). The third section consisted of multiple Likert scales that asked the participants to record their levels of sexual satisfaction, quality of current intimate relationship(s), and comfort discussing sexual material. The fourth section related to questions about abstinence only education. Participants were asked whether or not they have received abstinence education or abstinence-only education at some point in their lives. The final question asked participants when they believe that individuals should start being exposed to sexual topics (before elementary school, elementary school, middle school, high school, after high school). I found no relationship between sexual education and sexual satisfaction, nor did I find a relationship between sexual education and level of comfort discussing sexual topics. There was no significant relationship when gender was analyzed. However, the data suggests that there were statistically significant associations between sexual orientation and higher levels of comfort discussing sexual topics; such that non-heterosexual individuals reported lower levels of comfort discussing sexual topics with parents/guardians. The data also suggested that individuals not in relationships had lower levels of sexual satisfaction in comparison to individuals in relationships. These results provide analytic purchase when questioning the relationship between exposure to sexual materials, information, education, and sex-positive orientations.