Holding Off From Sex
Young Adults Hold Off on Sex, New Data Shows
More teens and 20-somethings are holding off on sex, and girls and women are likelier to experiment with same-sex encounters, says the latest government data on Americans' sex lives.
By Everyday Health Editors
Medically Reviewed by Ed Zimney, MD
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Fri. March 4, 2011 —Should parents breathe a sigh of relief? More teens and young adults are waiting to have sex for the first time, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Twenty-seven percent of males and 29 percent of females ages 15 to 24 reported never having had a sexual encounter with another person, up from 22 percent for both sexes in 2002, the researchers found.
Related: 8 Things You May Not Know About HPV
But teens and young adults are “hooking up” before they lose their virginity: More than 50 percent said they had oral sex prior to engaging in vaginal intercourse, a finding that has health experts concerned. The study’s lead author, Anjani Chandra, PhD, shared her take with CNN, via Huffington Post: Many teens may think they’re practicing safe sex by skipping or delaying vaginal intercourse, but they may not be aware that unprotected oral sex still puts them at risk for sexually transmitted infections — especially HPV, human papillomavirus, which can be transmitted through oral sex or even skin-to-skin genital contact.
Related: Does Oral Sex Lead to Risky Behavior?
Another finding: Twice as many girls as boys reported having a same-sex encounter (12 percent of females, compared to 5.8 percent of males). Interestingly, the number of heterosexual partners seemed to factor in: Females with four or more male partners were likelier to hook up with other women. And younger women were more likely to describe themselves as bisexual than older women.
One expert says the findings validate a cultural perception of female sexuality: "There's a popular sense that women have more fluidity in their sexual attraction than men do," said Jack Drescher, MD, a psychiatrist in private practice in New York City, in an interview with .
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