An alarming 45% of Americans could not correctly identify the definition of consent in a new study.
A survey of 2,000 Americans revealed only 55% identified consent as a "clearly communicated, verbal and affirmative agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity."
One in five respondents (21%) thought consent was just any kind of "verbal affirmative" while one in ten (13%) considered any sort of perceived physical indicator from a partner that they wanted to engage in sexual activity consent.
Of respondents who are sexually active (61%) two in five confessed they don't receive verbal consent from a partner every time they have sex.
The survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of HUD App revealed many are aware of the knowledge gap in their own sexual education and its consequences.
This is evident in the results, as one in two (51%) said they thought their first sexual experience would have been better if they had gotten a better sexual education.
Nearly seven in ten (68%) said sex education classes should be standardized across the country so all students are being taught the same concepts.
Sixty-five percent revealed they think sex ed in the United States is sorely lacking with the majority thinking it needs to start way earlier than middle school.
Many respondents believe it's high time for the concept of consent to be taught in school at early ages. In fact, 53% believe education on consent should begin in pre-schools so children are taught from the earliest ages to respect others' personal boundaries and bodily autonomy.
That's not the only structural change to sexual education respondents want to see. Two in three want to see more emphasis in sex-ed classes on birth control since 59% think it's "unrealistic" to solely teach abstinence.
Three in four respondents would like to see honest communication techniques taught in class so partners can have open conversations about their preferences and experiences.
Beyond talking about sex, 56% think discussions about female pleasure should be a part of sex education.
The knowledge gap on sex-ed doesn't start in schools though with parents feeling left in the dark too.
Forty-four percent of parents surveyed confessing they felt ill-equipped to talk to their children about sex due to a lack of resources.
Nearly three in five (57%) parents think schools should expand their sex-ed curriculum to be more inclusive for LGBTQI+ children too.
Katie Wilson, Director of Communications for HUD App, said, "Having honest, respectful and realistic information about sexuality is a vital aspect of healthy physical and emotional development. Society's attitudes toward sex education have shifted dramatically over the decades, and it's time this is reflected in what and how we're learning about human sexuality."
Many respondents were willing to fix the knowledge gap when it comes to sex-ed with 38% willing to take a sex education class now to become more informed.
Knowledge is power in the world of romance since 40% think their dating lives would be improved today if they knew more about sex-ed.
The most common topics respondents want a refresher on were partner communication skills (32%), birth control options (32%) and female pleasure (30%).
Wilson added, "Sex education equips people with the knowledge and skills to make responsible, respectful decisions about their sexuality. Sex education is empowering, and we need to close the gap for young people who aren't getting the information they need to be safe and confident."
TOP SEX ED TOPICS AMERICANS WANT AN UPDATE ON
How to communicate with a partner 32%
Birth control options 32%
Female pleasure 30%
Sexually transmitted diseases 25%
Abusive relationships 23%
Sexuality spectrum 22%
LGBTQI+ communities 21%
Sexuality in the media 19%