But in between, sex education in schools is often an antiseptic regurgitation of the science of reproduction mixed with healthy doses of the need for protection and, increasingly, abstinence
This moment in politics has spurred many different conversations. One of them: how schools teach students about consent and sexual assault.
As it is, only 24 states and the District of Columbia mandate sex education in public schools, the study found.
Of those, only eight states require mention of consent or sexual assault, it said: California, Hawaii, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia. (The District of Columbia does, too.)
"States are not providing students with enough guidance and support in terms of how to behave in the world they grew up in," Catherine Brown, the vice president of education policy at the institute, told CNN.
"It's really important to be clear with them about what is and what isn't permissible and the lines are when dealing with other people in relationships."
Some states have detailed standards
Rhode Island, West Virginia and the District of Columbia provide clear standards on topics of sexual health and categorize them by age group, the Center for American Progress found. For example, DC standards require that third-grade students are taught how "individual bodies are different" and sixth-graders learn about "sexual feelings and the need for love, affection and physical intimacy."
But most of the states the study looked at -- including Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky and Nevada -- provide little detail on what the curriculum should look like and don't separate standards by age.
Delaware, for example, requires that the curriculum of its health education for students includes "sexuality education and an HIV prevention program that stresses the benefits of abstinence from high-risk behaviors."
And two states, Tennessee