Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Teen Sexuality -- Just In

I've been saying and writing for a long time now that the rapid declines we saw in teenagers having sexual intercourse would level off at current levels -- and indeed a new report from the federal government says just that.

After year's of decline from 1991 to 2000, the percentage of teenagers having intercourse has leveled off at 45.6%, a rate constant from 2001 - 2005. That's right -- a little less than half of today's teenagers have intercourse, down from a little more than half 15 years ago.

Think about what's been going on since 1991. As many of us have been saying, teenagers began delaying after there was widespread education about HIV/AIDS and BEFORE the federal abstinence program went into effect in 1997. Today's release is one more piece of data that shows that these programs aren't changing most teenagers behaviors.

The new report also shows that the rapid increase in condom use in the 1990's has also stalled, no surprise given how few schools are now able to teach about condoms. It's at 63%, a dramatic increase over the past fifteen years, but no change since 2003.

We need to do better for our teenagers. We need to help them delay having any kind of sex that they aren't physically, emotionally, or spiritually ready for...we need to make sure that they have information and access to full information, good family planning services, and condoms so that they can be safe...

We need to remember that about half of teens won't have sexual intercourse in high school and they need our support and respect.

But, we need to not forget that about half will...and they need our support and respect as well.

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