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A Mixed Methods Study of Sexuality Education Experiences and Preferences Among Bisexual, Pansexual, and Queer (Bi+) Male Youth

Mata D, Korpak AK, Sorensen B, Dodge B, Mustanski B, Feinstein BA

Sexuality Research and Social Policy

Introduction: Bisexual male youth are more likely to engage in certain behaviors that contribute to HIV/STI transmission (e.g., substance use) than are heterosexual and gay male youth. However, sexuality education rarely addresses the unique needs of sexual minority youth, especially bisexual, pansexual, and queer (bi+) youth, and little is known about their sexuality education experiences and preferences. As such, the goal of this study was to examine bi+ male youth's experiences learning about sex and their preferences for sexuality education.

Methods: In 2019, 56 bi+ male youth ages 14-17 were surveyed and interviewed about their sexuality education experiences and preferences. Participants identified as bisexual (64%), pansexual (27%), and queer (9%), were racially/ethnically diverse (39% white, 32% Latinx, 20% Black, 9% other races), and included cisgender (79%) and transgender (21%) male youth.

Results: Participants described varied experiences with school-based sexuality education (e.g., none, abstinence only, covered sexual health in some way), but it rarely addressed their unique needs. They typically learned about sex by searching for information online and from sexually explicit media. Participants identified several topics they wanted to learn more about (e.g., sex with same-gender partners, anal sex, consent), but they typically believed they were prepared to have sex. Finally, some participants described benefits of tailoring sexuality education to their unique needs, while others described benefits of more inclusive programs.

Conclusions and policy implications: Findings suggest that bi+ male youth do not receive adequate sexuality education to make informed decisions about safer sex, highlighting the critical need for reform.

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