Sexual experience, knowledge and attitudes of Israeli medical students

M. Fisher, Z. Hoch, I. Itskovitz, H. Kubat, J. M. Brandes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In order to set up a human sexuality course more suitable for the specific needs of Israeli medical students, a national study using the Sex Knowledge and Attitude Test (SKAT) was conducted. This test evaluated the background, sexual experience, knowledge and attitudes of the students in the four medical schools in Israel. There is now general professional consensus that to develop a good human sexuality curriculum it is mandatory to first study the future target population. Data on background, sexual experience, knowledge and attitudes were analyzed and compared to findings of similar studies in other countries. Most Israeli senior medical students are unmarried, Ashkenazi males, with a small proportion of females, Jews of Asian or African origin, Moslems and Christians. Sex education during childhood originated mostly from peers and literature, but was almost completely lacking at school. Masturbation started early, being more frequent for males. The majority of both sexes had dated, had gone steady, and had had sexual intercourse frequently with at least two partners. Only 5.4% of males had never experienced coitus. Intercourse with a prostitute was infrequent. The student's background had direct influence on their early sexual knowledge and experience. This in turn influenced self ratings on sexual matters which was further correlated with sexual behavior. When analyzing our results according to the standard score method of the SKAT, the Israeli student appeared significantly less knowledgeable in sexual matters (especially on medicopsychological and sociological items) and much more conservative than his American counterpart in most of his attitudes regarding sex (except for views on heterosexual relations). On examining our results according to a sample-adjusted method, the majority of our students seemed to be rather liberal. This apparent discrepancy might be explained by differences between countries in the definition of liberal and conservative, which should be carefully taken into account when deciding on the nature of future teaching programs.

Original languageHebrew
Pages (from-to)523-526+538-539
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Jun 1980
Externally publishedYes


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