Research Finds That Teenagers Are Having Less Sex Than a Decade Ago


Research has shown that teenagers are now having less sex than they were 10 years ago, lowering the rates of teen pregnancies and STDs.

A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only 41 per cent of American high school students reported to having had intercourse.

In 2005 the number for the same age group stood at 47 per cent, whereas in 1995 it was more than half with 53 per cent claiming to have had sex.

In a slight difference to British high schools, American high schools only cover the 9 to 12 grade, meaning that the majority of students at school range from age 14 to 18.

These decreases are most common amongst younger students in the grades 9 and 10 and among Hispanic and African-American students. 

The sexual activity of those in the 11 and 12 grades and among white students was also down but not by a significant margin.

The results of this study are seen as a huge positive with experts, as students who have sex at an early age are often at a higher risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Authors Kathleen Ethier, Laura Kann and Timothy McManus write in their report: 

"The decreases in sexual intercourse by grade suggest that fewer students are having sexual intercourse during the earlier years of high school; this finding is especially encouraging.

This finding, coupled with decreases in the prevalence of sexual intercourse among black and Hispanic students, represent positive changes among groups of students who have been indicated in previous studies to be at higher risk for negative outcomes associated with early sexual initiation, such as higher numbers of partners, non-use of condoms, teen pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases."

The study was conducted between 2005 and 2015 and looked at a sample size range of 13,917 to 16,410 students in public and private schools in 29 different US states.

However, the CDC does admit that the study is subject to some limitations as it only caters for students who attend high school. According to their research in 2012 around 3 per cent of 16-17-year-olds in America were not at high school.

Furthermore, there is also the potential that students lied in this survey, but the CDC do admit that their questions demonstrated a "good test-retest reliability".

They conclude their study by stating that these changes could be thanks to a societal and educational shift, which cold have influenced intellectual and emotional maturity in students. They add:

"Adolescence is characterised by profound intellectual, emotional, and psychological growth, all of which could be influenced by sociocultural and educational changes.

More research is necessary to understand the contributing factors and the implications of these findings and to examine the contribution of these declines to declines in teenage childbearing and the potential relationship with STI."