Despite the oft-believed stereotype that boys are far more prone to reckless sexual behavior than girls, a recent study seems to suggest the opposite to be true. Nicole Weller, a doctoral student at Arizona State University, analyzed data from the United States National Survey …
… of Family Growth and found adolescent girls were 40 percent more likely than boys to have sex without contraception during their first sexual encounter.
Not so astounding considering the U.S. has one of the highest percentages of teen pregnancies in the world.
The silver lining in her study? Weller discovered that girls were waiting longer to have sex than they have been in previous years. The average age to lose your virginity in the U.S. is 17.5, up from ten years ago when it was the tender age of 15. According to Nicole Weller:
“Fifteen- to 19-year-olds have the most sexually transmitted diseases,” said Weller. “Even though they are waiting, they are having risky sex and not taking precautions.” She added, “In general, the younger that you are when you have sex, the more at risk you are of contracting a sexually transmitted disease,” Weller said. Teaching adolescents about sex early is vital because the younger they learn the more likely they’ll take precautions when they do have a sexual encounter. “The younger one receives sexual education, the less likely you are to engage in risky sex.”
When it comes to studies like this I’m a little leery. I have a hard time trusting this kind of data and believe that they lead to generalizations. I do, however, believe that teens aren’t always the best about having sex safe. A lot of it has to do with the whole feeling of invincibility and a general lack of maturity. Another huge factor, like Weller said, is sex ed. My conclusion? The United States really needs to step things up when it comes to educating young people about sex. Our sex education programs are in need of a serious overhaul, but that’s not anything you didn’t know to begin with.