Most studies on young adults’ sources of sexual health information and confidence in sexual health practices have focused primarily on heterosexual university students. This study sought to bridge this gap in the literature by exploring where emerging adults, including LGBTQ+ individuals and those who do not pursue postsecondary education, obtain their sexuality information and how this relates to sexual self-efficacy. A total of 386 adults between the ages of 18 and 25 were divided into higher education (n = 306) versus high school (n = 80) groups and heterosexual (n = 215) versus LGBTQ+ (n = 171) emerging adults. Participants completed measures of sexual health information sources, as well as self-efficacy with regard to sexual health practices. Heterosexual participants obtained significantly more information from school/university courses and less from educational websites/news outlets than LGBTQ+ participants. Heterosexual participants were significantly more confident in their sexual health practices than LGBTQ+ participants. Different sources of information helped predict sexual self-efficacy across these four groups. Acquiring more information from significant others was the only significant predictor of sexual self-efficacy for all four groups. This study suggests that sexual health information should be discussed within a more relational or interpersonal framework, and that LGBTQ+ issues should be further incorporated and integrated in sex education curricula. Implications for healthcare providers, public health policy, sex educators, clinicians and future research are discussed.


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pp. 74-85
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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