Teen Sex Down, Condom Use Up
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The study found that 16 percent of teen males used a condom in combination with a female partner's hormonal method, up from 10 percent in 2002.
About 43 percent of never-married female teens it surveyed, and about 42 percent of never-married male teens, reported they were sexually experienced, similar to 2002.
When CDC researchers asked teens who have not had sex why they were abstaining, the primary reason given was that it was "against religion or morals," not because they were worried about unplanned pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases.
Overall, sexual activity among U.S. teenagers seems to be holding steady, the CDC said.
Of those teens who said they were sexually active, 78 percent of females and 85 percent of males said they employed some form of contraception during their first sexual experience, virtually unchanged from 2002.
CDC Press Release: More teen males using condoms
The percentage of teen males aged 15-19 years in the United States who used a condom the first time they had sex increased between 2002 and 2006-2010, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report, " Teenagers in the United States: Sexual Activity, Contraceptive Use, and Childbearing, 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth," from CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, found that 8 in 10 teen males used a condom at first sex, an increase of 9 percentage points from 2002. The study also found that 16 percent of teen males used a condom in combination with a female partner's hormonal method, a 6 percentage point increase from 2002.
Other findings include:
· In 2006-2010, about 43 percent of never-married female teens (4.4 million), and about 42 percent of never-married male teens (4.5 million) had had sexual intercourse at least once (were sexually experienced). These levels of sexual experience have not changed significantly from 2002, though over the past 20 years there has been a decline in the percentages of those who were sexually experienced.
· Seventy-eight percent of females and 85 percent of males used a method of contraception at first sex. With a few exceptions, teenagers' use of contraceptives has changed little since 2002, and the condom remained the most commonly used method.
· One exception was an increase among males in the use of condoms and in dual use--the use of a condom combined with a partner's use of hormonal contraceptive at first sex.
· Another exception was a significant increase in the percent of female teenagers who used hormonal methods other than the pill, such as injectables and the contraceptive patch, at first sex. Six percent of teen females used a non-pill hormonal method at first sex in the latest survey compared to 2 percent in 2002.
· Despite long term improvements in pregnancy risk behaviors among teens, differences still exist among Hispanic origin and race groups. Non-Hispanic black males have the highest percentages who are sexually experienced, and Hispanic males have the highest percentages using no contraceptive method at last sex.
The report is available at: www.cdc.gov/nchs.
by John Gever, Senior Editor, MedPage Today
Published: October 12, 2011
The percentage of teens 15 to 19 years old reporting that they have had sexual intercourse has continued a long-term decline and now stands at just over 40%, according to CDC survey data from 2006 to 2010.
Notably, the long-standing gender gap in adolescent sexual experience appears to have vanished, thanks to an especially steep decline in the proportion of boys and young men who reported having lost their virginity.
When a similar survey was conducted in 1988, 51.1% of unmarried teen girls/women and 60.4% of teen boys/men said they had had sexual intercourse at some point. In 2006-2010, these figures fell to 42.6% of women and 41.8% of men.
At the same time, among those who reported having sex, the proportion who used condoms during their first encounter has risen to 80% among males and 60% among females, the CDC reported. In the 1988 survey, barely half of either sex reported condom use at first sex.
The findings came from the agency's National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), which the agency has conducted periodically since 1988. In the most recent round, the survey involved 4,662 teens 15 to 19 years old, split about evenly between the sexes. Previous versions of the survey were given in 2002, 1995, and 1988.
For some sexual behaviors that adults typically try to encourage in teens, the numbers suggested that progress has been made:
· Contraception use at first sex: 68.9% of women and 71.4% of men in 1988; 78.3% of women and 85.4% of men in 2006-2010
· Contraception use at last sex: 79.9% of women and 84.2% of men in 1988; 85.6% of women and 92.5% of men in 2006-2010
· Used condom 100% of the time in past four weeks: 41.4% of women and 88.2% of men in 1988; 49.0% of women and 88.5% of men in 2006-2010
Perhaps less encouraging, young women had become more likely to report a history of multiple sex partners.
Among sexually experienced, unmarried teen women, 43.6% said in 1988 that they had had three or more partners in their lifetimes. In the 2006-2010 survey, the number increased to 48.6%.
The increase was seen both among respondents saying they had had three to five partners and among those reporting six or more.
Adolescent men, on the other hand, were more likely to report having three to five partners (32.6% versus 28.6% in 1988) but less likely to say they had had six or more (22.4% versus 26.7% in 1988).
Also, compared with 1988, young women in the most recent survey were more likely to report that their first sex was with a new acquaintance, "just a friend," or occasional dating partner, and less likely to have been with a steady boyfriend.
The opposite was true for young men.
Still, there remained a large gap between sexes in the nature of relationships at first sex: 56% of boys/men versus 70% of girls/women said their first encounter was with a steady dating partner. Nearly twice as many adolescent men as women said their first sex was with a new acquaintance or "just friends" (28% versus 16%).
For the first time in the 2006-2010 edition, the NSFG asked adolescents about the "wantedness" of their first sexual encounters.
Some 11% of the females and 5% of males indicated that they "didn't really want it to happen at the time," whereas 41% of the teen women and 63% of the men were eager for it.
A middle option, "mixed feelings," was selected by 48% of the girls/women and 33% of boys/men.