Adolescent Sexuality in The United States - Sexual Behavior

Sexual Behavior

Sexually active girls aged 15–19, and percent of how recently they have been sexually active
Age at 1st intercourse Last 12 months Last 3 months Once ever
14 & under 89.0% 77.3% 5.1%
15–16 89.3% 76.1% 10.6%
17–19 96.3% 73.2% 11.6%

Today both boys and girls are now "entering puberty at least two years earlier than previous generations. This means they are ready for sex earlier physically, but not emotionally or cognitively."

The percentage of teenagers who report they are currently sexually active has been dropping since 1991. By 2005, the overall percentage of teenagers reporting that they were currently sexually active was down to 33.9%. A lower number of sexually active teens is "quite positive in terms of their health and their well-being."

Despite the decreasing number, there are still some who are promiscuous. Approximately 15% of students will have sex with four or more partners by the time they graduate from high school. Many others, particularly boys, will lie about how much sex they are having. In one national study, 60% of boys said they had lied about something sexual and 30% had lied about how far they had gone.

Sexually active boys aged 15–19, and percent of how recently they have been sexually active
Age at 1st intercourse Last 12 months Last 3 months Once ever
14 & under 80.9% 66.8% 6.5%
15–16 84.9% 68.9% 10.4%
17–19 94.8% 69.4% 10.0%

Factors that correlate with teen sexual activity include:

  • "Individual—having a history of sexual abuse, depression, heavy alcohol or drug use.
  • Family—living in a single parent or stepparent household, living in a poor household, having parents with permissive values about sexual activity, having little supervision from parents, having siblings who are sexually active, feeling unloved, unwanted, or not respected by parents.
  • Community—having friends who are sexually active, having few positive experiences at school, living in a neighborhood with poor neighborhood monitoring."

Read more about this topic:  Adolescent Sexuality In The United States

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