Purpose: In India, talking about sex is taboo. Little is known about the knowledge, attitude, and sexual behavior of adolescents. This study was carried out with the purpose of examining: (a) the knowledge of medical students about sex, (b) the sources of learning about sex, and (c) the sexual behavior and practices of young adults.
Methods: This study was carried out among the undergraduate students of a medical college in Delhi. A pretested, semiclosed-type questionnaire was voluntarily filled out by the students. Confidentiality and secrecy was assured.
Results: Of 500 students, 73% participated in the study. Knowledge regarding sexual intercourse, masturbation, contraception, and sexually transmitted diseases was satisfactory among 70%, 74.8%, 83.5%, and 92.6% of the respondents, respectively. Common source of knowledge about sex were friends (74.5%), pornographic films (56.2%), and books and magazines (55.1%). Only one fifth could communicate with teachers, parents, and persons of the other gender about sex. About 417 of the students viewed homosexuality as normal behavior. Sexual intercourse had been experienced by 11.8% of respondents. The mean age of first sexual intercourse was 17.5 years. Eighty-five percent strongly favored introduction of sex education at school level.
Conclusion: Evidence is provided for the need to improve knowledge about different aspects of sex among a sample of Indian medical students.