NPR’s health blog, Shots, posted a juicy story on March 3rd about a study that found young people are actually choosing to abstain from sex, at least more so than in earlier years. The post, titled “More Young People Scorning Sex, Study Finds” was reviewing the results from a study conducted by the National Survey of Family Growth and run from 2006 to 2008 which polled more 13,000 young individuals about their sex life. According to NPR, the study found that “27 percent of young men and 29 percent of young women ages 15 to 24 say they’ve never had a sexual encounter. That’s compared to 2002, when 22 percent of both men and women said they had never had any sort of sex.” So, 5-7 percent of young men and women are choosing to abstain from sex. I attribute this directly to the Jonas Brothers and their 2008 campaign for purity rings.
In addition, a smaller number of teens seem to be substituting oral sex — which is often misconstrued as safer and therefore done sans protection — for traditional intercourse than in previous years.
As much as I would love to believe that the teens of today are getting smarter about sex, there is the cynical side of me that thinks perhaps they are just getting smarter about lying to interviewers who show up at their doorstep probing with questions about their sex life — sex life? what sex life. The study does conclude that the interviewers made these stops at random front doors, and although they did take necessary precautions (like having participants answer extremely personal questions by typing answers into computers in case their moms were “listening from the kitchen”), they cannot be 100% positive of the accuracy of their answers. However, to improve the likelihood of honest responses, the study sent only women interviewers, and all in their 40s, which apparently is ” a nice non-threatening age.” Well that’s another reason to look forward to hitting the big 4 0..I can finally stop being so threatening.
Another interesting finding the study pulled up: twice as many women as men reported to having same-sex encounters, with 13 percent of women admitting to girl on girl action, as opposed to only 5.2 percent of men boasting queer encounters.
Aside from being super nosey ( I get it from my dad..), why should we care about the sex trends of the youth of America? Because according to the National Survey of Family Growth, half of all STIs occur among individuals 15-24 years of age, and the direct medical cost of these diseases to 15-24 year olds alone was estimated at $6.5 billion in the year 2000. This time, I blame Miley Cyrus and her green bra.