Let’s Talk about Sex(ual Health) Baby: An Analysis of Sexual Communication With Adolescents in Mexican-American Families

Melynda Ann Venegas, University of Texas at El Paso


In a society where sexual education programs only cover basic male and female reproductive processes, the female menstrual cycle, and putting condoms on bananas, adolescents have to seek sexual health information elsewhere. The majority of sexual education in U.S. public schools is based on Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) programs that promote abstinence as the only way to completely prevent pregnancy and teach only about contraceptive failure rates, nothing more (Alvare, 2018). Without PCSC, adolescents often turn to peers for sexual knowledge (Watts, 2000). Although some information may be credible, peers can also give information that is misleading, unreliable, or incomplete. This could result in adolescents succumbing to peer pressure to engage in sexual activity when they are not ready. If their friends have already begun participating in certain sexual activities, this increases the chance that adolescents will engage in risky sexual behaviors shaped through the peer group experience (Watts, 2000). Seeking sexual health information from peers can influence future negative sexual attitudes and beliefs such as not fully understanding the consequences that sexual intercourse can have. Possible negative effects from gathering sexual health knowledge from peers include having unintended pregnancies, participating in sexual activity prematurely, and contracting an STD due to engaging in unprotected sex. An implication from peer-gathered sexual health information is that it can leave adolescents unprepared for any future sexual encounters in ways that could later affect them both mentally and physically such as not recognizing signs of emotional abuse or contracting an STD or STI.

Subject Area

Communication|Hispanic American studies|Health education

Recommended Citation

Venegas, Melynda Ann, "Let’s Talk about Sex(ual Health) Baby: An Analysis of Sexual Communication With Adolescents in Mexican-American Families" (2021). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28540296.