In a recently released study from the Centers for Disease Control (.pdf file), it seems today's teens are turning sex statistics on their ear. The CDC spoke with 4,662 teenagers in written and oral face-to-face interviews (2,284 girls and 2,378 boys) over a four year period from 2006-2010. And what they found might just surprise you.
Turns out, teens hear more than we realize. Some are even beginning to "get" that age-old suggestion to wait till they find the right person for sex.
In 2002, the last year the CDC conducted this study, more than half of the teens surveyed (51.1 percent of girls and 60.4 percent of boys) were no longer virgins. But of the virgins, the reason most cited is religion or morals. The number two reason among boys was that they didn't want to get a girl pregnant.
Today, however, those numbers have dropped substantially to 43 percent of girls and 42 percent of boys. And the number two reason is that they're waiting for the right person. And! 78 percent of girls and 85 percent of boys (an increase of 3 percent in each case) who've had sex used contraception! We're more excited about that number than the first. At any age, if you're gonna do it, at least be responsible about it.
Something else has changed, too.
“The percentage of teenage girls who have had sex is the same across ethnicities,” said Gladys Martinez, the report’s lead author and a demographer with the National Center for Health Statistics. “This is the first time that has happened, and the leveling off is due mainly to the smaller percentages of black teenage girls who have had sex.”
What an incredible turnaround. And would you look at that? Teens can be taught. (We're kidding, kids. We knew it all along.)