Cape Town. 180908. Learners at the Saambou Primary School attending sex education lesson. Picture Leon Lestrade

Johannesburg - Most young people learn about sex from their friends as opposed to their families, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

“The fact that parents are not engaging with their children on sex education is of great concern,” International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) director general Tewodros Melesse said in a statement.

“Young people need responsible and reliable sources of such information to be properly educated.”

The survey was conducted among 16 to 24-year olds, and 25 to 34-year olds, to differentiate between the two generations. A total of 7662 people took part.

It found that 38 percent of youth had friends as the primary source of information about sex. Nineteen percent learnt about sex through television and other media, 18 percent through school, 14 percent through the internet, and only four percent through their families.

“We really need families to teach young people about sex, sexual health and responsible behaviour. Not speaking about it within the family actually increases the risks rather than preventing them,” Melesse said.

The survey found that 12 percent of youth first had sex under the age of 14, 22 percent between the ages of 14 and 16, and 37 percent after the age of 16. - Sapa