A Home Office report, to be published next week, sought the views of 500 young people aged 13 to 25 on issues including school, drugs and job prospects.
Many in the "Listen Up" exercise said their teachers were too embarrassed to discuss moral and ethical issues or "taboo" subjects such as homosexuality. They learned more from friends and magazines than conventional sex education classes.
Boys wanted to talk about emotional issues with male teachers and youth workers. They said the personal, social and health education curriculum should focus on concepts of masculinity.
A young male from north London revealed some of the pressures: "Women expect you to be great in bed. You're supposed to know all the stuff."
Schools were also criticised for not providing enough careers guidance and work-experience opportunities.
Girls said they were pressured into "women's jobs", while boys were concerned about the low level of training offered to those without good qualifications.
Boys said they wanted a more varied curriculum to make school interesting for the less academic and stricter measures to combat bullying in schools.