Gynecologic knowledge is low in college men and women

J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2013 Jun;26(3):161-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpag.2012.12.004. Epub 2013 Mar 19.


Study objective: Although men may influence women's reproductive choices, little is known about men's knowledge regarding gynecologic matters (eg, sex, anatomy, and contraception). This study aimed to evaluate the level of gynecologic knowledge among college students, particularly to investigate the differences in knowledge between men and women.

Design, setting, participants: We administered a survey to assess knowledge of sex, contraception, and female anatomy to college students at a Midwestern university during the spring 2010 semester.

Interventions and main outcome measures: The survey included demographic and behavioral questions, 9 general gynecology knowledge items, and 11 female anatomy items. A total gynecology score was generated by summing the correct responses to 20 items.

Results: The 236 respondents included 98 men and 138 women (aged 18-36 years). Women scored higher than men on 19 of 20 individual items, with mean total scores of 13.4 vs 10.1 (P < .01). There was a trend for gynecologic knowledge to be higher among those who reported having had been STI tested (P = .13), and whose parents had discussed anatomy with them (P = .07). In multivariable modeling, being male was associated with lower mean knowledge scores, whereas increasing age and having a parent who discussed anatomy were associated with greater knowledge scores, even while controlling for having a gynecologist parent, multiple sexual partners, and prior STI testing.

Conclusions: College men have lower gynecologic knowledge than women. Increasing age and having a parent who discussed anatomy with them served as predictors of higher knowledge scores. Because men influence women's reproductive choices, efforts to increase men's knowledge are needed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Contraception*
  • Female
  • Genitalia, Female / anatomy & histology*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / diagnosis
  • Young Adult