Canadian youth sex survey to be taken

by | Oct 19, 2012 | News

By Chanelle Seguin

The Canadian federal government is expected to fund $250,000 towards research on the sexual habits of young adults, but some Canadians believe asking about sexual experiences is not appropriate.

Katheryne Gutierrez says discussions with parents and teachers would be more useful to curtail sexually transmitted infections and sexual bullying. PHOTO BY CHANELLE SEGUIN

Katheryne Gutierrez, 19, a second-year justice studies student at the University of Guelph-Humber, said she probably wouldn’t take part in the survey unless it was a school necessity and believes some of the questions are not suitable even for a public survey.

“Young people joke around about their sexual habits and stuff with their friends, but it’s still something private that people like to keep to themselves,” said Gutierrez.

The survey has yet to go public.

A pilot Canadian Sexual Health Indicator test was conducted for the validation phase of the research in the spring of 2010.

Alan McKay, research co-ordinator for The Sex Information and Education Council of Canada, said researchers must now apply to perform the survey before any information is released.

Toronto Public Health couldn’t comment on the survey until research has actually been conducted.

The survey plans to ask 9,000 young adults between the ages of 18 to 24 on their sexual habits.

The government hopes the findings of the survey will assist in improving awareness of sexually transmitted infections and reducing sexual bullying.

The questions on the survey range from the first time of sexual intercourse to experience with sexual coercion to basic condom use.

McKay said research is imperative to build successful sexual awareness programs for Canadian youth.

“If people want educational programs that relate to sexual and reproductive health, then the data derived from a study like this is absolutely crucial,” said McKay.

The survey will be the first of its kind in Canada. Similar surveys have been conducted in Europe and parts of the United States.

Gutierrez said she is concerned by the sexual stories she hears about young teens.

“When I hear Grade 7 and 8 kids, 12-year olds, talking about having sex, and not just with each other but with older people, it kind of disturbs me,” said Gutierrez.

Dan Sabourin, director of community services for Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa, told CBC News the health aspect of sexual health needs to be the main focus of young adults

“We need to take ‘sex’ out of sexual health, as this becomes a barrier to some who see this as a negative,” said Sabourin.