Sex education taught in the UK could be more in-depth and inclusive, according to a new study published in BMJ Open. These findings come from the third (and largest) National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3).

Researchers compared data collected from nearly 4,000 men and women ages 16 to 24 in 1990-91 to data collected in 1999-2002 and 2010-12. By comparing these sets of data, researchers were able to see how information about sex has changed. Plus, they could see where young British people were getting their sexual information.

The results showed school is the primary source of information, increasing from 28 percent in 1990 to 40 percent in 2012; parents are a secondary source; and health professionals are a third source. Though around half of young people reported getting their information from other sources, including their first sexual partner, the media, and pornography.

Where young people get their information from influenced their sexual behavior. Among men and women who learned mostly in school, they reported having sex for the first time at a later age than those who got their information outside the classroom. As a result, these people were less likely to report having unsafe safe and contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Interestingly, women in school had a healthier outlook on, and experience with, sex than men whose primary source of information was also school. Bridging this gender gap is the first opportunity UK sex education programs have to improve, researchers said.

"Our results suggest we need a broader framing of sex education in schools that addresses the needs of both young men and women, with a move away from the traditional female-focused 'periods, pills and pregnancy' approach," Wendy Macdowall, study author and lecturer at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said in a press release.

Of the information that is available to British young people, 70 percent said there’s not enough relating to “sexual feelings, emotions, and relationships, as well as STIs and contraception for women.” Thusly, the second opportunity for improvement comes down to UK parents. Sure, having "the talk" about the birds and the bees can be awkward, but a lot of the men and women surveyed said they would have liked their parents to give them more information.

Nearly nine in 10 teens in the United States “say that it would be much easier for them to delay sexual activity if they had open, honest, and ongoing conversations with their parents about sex,” reported The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Parents can improve upon this by working to be what the University of Texas Prevention Research Center calls “askable.”

This essentially means emphasizing to children all questions are welcome. Additionally, asking children questions about what he or she thinks or knows about sex can be a good way to narrow down the need-be topics of discussion.

Source: Macdowall W, et al. BMJ Open. 2015.