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The Latest Findings About Sex and Teenagers

According to the latest statistics published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  however you define sex – oral, vaginal, or something else – fewer teens and young adults are having it.  The results of the survey indicate that more teenagers and 20-somethings are abstaining. The general view among adults has been that teenagers are having more and more sex, but the new data appears to contradict that.

Among 15 to 24 year olds, 27% of males and 29% of females had never had sexual contact with another person.  Only 22% of guys and gals that age reported being so virginal in 2002, when the last survey was conducted.

At the same time, teens and young adults are more likely than black and Hispanic young people to start their sex lives having only oral sex.  Among whites aged 15-24, 57% say they had oral sex before ever having intercourse, as compared to 39% of black and Hispanic people their age.  Having oral sex avoids the risk of pregnancy, it still puts young people at risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease.

The survey also examined same-sex relationships in America.  Twice as many women as men admit to having had a same-sex experience.  Among 15-44 year old women, 13% say they’ve had a sexual experience with a woman.  Only 5% of men in the same age group,  said they’ve been intimate with a man.

The CDC report , “Sexual Behavior, Sexual Attraction and Sexual Identity in the U.S.,” which looks at sexual activity in young Americans — some 13,500 of them, age 15 to 44. Abstinence is up among teens and 20-somethings, which could have implications for the state of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the U.S.  By abstaining from vaginal intercourse, many teens think they’re being safer and they certainly eliminate the risk of an unplanned pregnancy.  If teenagers engage in oral sex — which the findings show many of them do — they’re still at risk for STIs.

What the report fails to indicate is the reasons why teenagers are abstaining from having sex.  Maybe sex education courses are having an impact.  Let us hope that as governors cut school budgets, they don’t cut sex ed. classes.  Because if the number of teen age births increase, you know who will get the blame!


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