Fewer teenaged millennials are having sex than their Gen-X counterparts did just a few decades ago, according to new research from the US Centers for Disease Control.
The study, conducted by National Center Health Statistics, found that more than half of America’s teens have had sex before age 18, yet this represents a sharp decline compared to similar studies in the past, reports Jessica Firger.
For example, 42 percent of females aged 15 to 19 reported having had sexual intercourse, while 44 percent of males reported they’d had sexual intercourse, compared to 51 percent of females and 60 percent of male teens in 1988. And they seem to be having sex much more safely.
“Because sex education and public health have been sharing the same bed now for a few decades, that union has produced a more sexually intelligent America than in years past,” says Eric Garrison, a certified clinical and forensic sexologist.
Clearly, we still have a lot of work to do. Among 15- to 19-year-old, for example, 75 percent of pregnancies are unintended, notes Firger, and “young people account for more than 1 in 5 new HIV infections.
“The study also doesn’t necessarily include young people who identify with the LGBTQ community and are therefore far less likely to engage in heterosexual intercourse,” says Firger.
The report has some notable limitations, notes Firger. For example, participants were questioned strictly about sexual intercourse, and the report did not gather information on other intimate activity such as manual, anal and oral sex.