website statistics

American Teenagers: Not So Wild?

Tara Parker-Pope writes in her New York Times column that despite all our national hand-wringing, not all teenagers are off having sex somewhere right now.

Teenage pregnancy rates have been increasing in the US, but not because of higher numbers of sexually active teens. Says Maria Kefalas, an associate professor of sociology at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia:

“This creeping up of teen pregnancy is not because so many more kids are having sex, but most likely because more kids aren’t using contraception.

Thank you Abstinence-Only programs! This also means that teens engaging in stuff that won't get you pregnant are still putting themselves at risk for STDs.

But back to the teens-having-less-sex thing...Here are some of the interesting statistics Parker-Pope quotes (and I'm assuming by 'sex' she means 'intercourse':

• Today, fewer than half of all high school students have had sex: 47.8 percent as of 2007, according to the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, down from 54.1 percent in 1991.

• A 2002 report from the Department of Health and Human Services found that 30 percent of 15- to 17-year-old girls had experienced sex, down from 38 percent in 1995. During the same period, the percentage of sexually experienced boys in that age group dropped to 31 percent from 43 percent.

• In 1995, about 20 percent said they had had sex before age 15, but by 2002 those numbers had dropped to 13 percent of girls and 15 percent of boys.

• About 16 percent of teenagers say they have had oral sex but haven’t yet had intercourse. Researchers say children’s more relaxed attitude about oral sex probably reflects a similar change among adults since the 1950s. In addition, some teenagers may view oral sex as “safer,” since unplanned pregnancy is not an issue.

Another important thing to note, based on the email we get here at The American Virign, is that there are a lot of people long out of high school that, for a variety of reasons, haven't yet had intercourse.