Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Report Says Teenagers Are Having Less Sex. Unless They Aren't.

According to the Centers for Disease Control's new, catchy titled report -- "Teenagers in the United States: Sexual Activity, Contraceptive Use, and Childbearing, 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth" -- Teenagers -- those between the ages of 15 and 18 -- are having less sex.  Or at least they say they are having less sex when asked about it by the Centers for Disease Control, which isn't quite the same as telling your Dad, is it?  Teens wouldn't hide the truth from figures of authority would they? Parents? Relatives? Scientists in white lab coats holding clipboards and waiting impatiently for answers to their questions?  Of course they would.

18.7% of Teenagers say they are waiting to have sex because they "haven't found the right person yet."
Or at least that is what one recent editorial about the CDC report discusses.  In her piece at the New York Times' blog Motherlode (a coincidental title, that, but nonetheless here unfortunate) -- "Are Teenagers Really Having Less Sex?" --  author KJ DellAntonia (who only sounds like she's a character from Twilight) worries that a survey "administered by a C.D.C. interviewer but conducted largely on a laptop with headphones" is bound to be flawed.

(Click on the image above to see the excerpt writ large.)

She makes a valid point: self-reporting activity provided via an interview allows for a greater chance for mis-representation or omission of sexual activity than data collected anonymously over an electronic medium.  Because talking about sex isn't always something Americans do, or do well.
What teen would be intimidated by a friendly-sounding report like this one?
Click on that title for the full CDC report.  For the trailer to Breaking Dawnclick here.
The report itself provides all sorts of interesting data, some of which is perhaps too detailed for a family-friendly blog like this one.  For example, did you know that since 2002, the number of African American females who reported using birth control during their last sexual encounter stayed at 71%?  For Hispanic and Anglo populations of teenage women, those numbers increased by 8% and 4% respectively.

Click to embiggen.
Putting aside teenagers, the CDC also provides extensive data on Sexual Health and Activity for adults and for the LGBT community, though there is not yet a site speaking to the sexual issues of vampires or werewolves.  Or, for that matter, those impregnated by midichlorians.

In terms of more data, why not peruse this page-turner:  "Sexual Behavior and Selected Health Measures: Men and Women 15-44 Years of  Age, United States."  Trust me, it only sounds boring.  Within its pages we learn this: that 22% of Anglo males and 34% of African American males have had 15 or more opposite-sex sexual partners in their lifetimes.  We can only guess how many of those were in college.  Hispanic and African American women with more than 15 partners were fewer: 5% and 9% respectively.

If the CDC says so, it must be true.

According to another CDC Report, we learn that the majority of married persons (40%) first had sex between the ages of 15-17 -- and that majority holds for those widowed, separated, divorced, never married, or currently cohabitating.  Apparently, John Hughes was right.  That report, by the way, is "Drug Use and Sexual Behaviors reported by Adults: United States, 1999-2002."  Who knows why the two are linked, but this same document states that 13.1% of married individuals have at one time or another used cocaine or other "street drugs."  This might prove a useful statistic to toss out the next time the parents (or Centers for Disease Control) ask why the car was brought home late after Senior Prom.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to read this information. I think it's important to practice sex responsibly and not just for fun. I think it's nice to wait for the right time. Sara M.