Pornography is becoming the new role model for many young people who are not learning enough about sex in school, according to a sex educator.
A report from a Parliamentary Health Select Committee said schools are only partially taking up the Ministry of Health's guidelines on it.
The Theatre In Health Education Trust, which is involved in sex education, says some schools provide few hours for students to learn about the topic.
Artistic director Evelyn Mann said some students are turning to pornography for answers because sex education is treated as the poor cousin to core subjects such as literacy and numeracy.
Urgent improvements in sex education urged
Parliament's Health Select Committee says there is an urgent need to improve sex education in schools.
A report by the committee says schools are only partially taking up Ministry of Health guidelines on the topic and describes the Education Review Office monitoring as passive.
Dr Katie Fitzpatrick of the University of Auckland said most students are missing out and no-one is making schools accountable for teaching sex education.
Secondary Principals' Association president Tom Parsons said schools are teaching enough sex education, but they often struggle against what students learn from their parents.