New CDC study on the sex life of the American teen

Robin Wulffson MD's picture
teen sex, vaginal intercourse, oral sex, prevalence, condoms
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On August 16, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new study on sexual practices of American teens. The researchers presented data on the prevalence of oral sex with opposite-sex partners and the timing of first oral sex relative to first vaginal intercourse among females and males aged 15–24 based on the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) data from 2007–2010. They asked females and males whether first oral sex occurred before, after, or on the same occasion as their first vaginal intercourse.

The study notes that non-coital sexual activities, such as oral sex, are common among teenagers and young adults. Based on the NSFG data from 2006–2008, 45% of females and 48% of males aged 15–19 years practiced oral sex at least once with members of the opposite sex; furthermore, among 20–24 year-olds, these percentages were about 81% of females and 80% of males (1). In the 20-year period from 1988 to 2006–2010, the percentage of female and male teenagers who had sexual intercourse at least once declined from 51% in 1988 to 43% in 2006–2010. During the same period, significant increases in condom use at first vaginal intercourse occurred for both female and male

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The current report is based on a nationally representative subsample of 6,346 interviews conducted from July 2007 through June 2010 (females: 3,242; males: 3,104 with men; age range: 15–24 years). The data was collected using audio computer-assisted self-interviewing, in which the respondent enters his or her own answers into the computer without telling them to an interviewer. The overall response rate for the 2006–2010 NSFG was 77%, 78% for females aged 15–44 years, and 75% for males aged 15–44 years.

The researchers found that approximately two-thirds of females (66%) and males (65%) aged 15–24 years in 2007–2010 had practice oral sex at least once. Among females aged 15–24 years, 26% had first oral sex before first vaginal intercourse; 27% had oral sex after intercourse; 7.4% had oral sex on the same occasion as first intercourse; and 5.1% had oral sex, but no vaginal intercourse. Among males aged 15–24 years, 24% had first oral sex before first intercourse; 24% had oral sex after first intercourse; 12% had oral sex on the same occasion as first intercourse; and 6.5% had oral sex, but no vaginal intercourse.

The report concluded that there is variation in the timing of first oral sex among females and males aged 15–24 years by key demographic characteristics, such as age at interview, Hispanic origin, and race, family structure at age 14, and age at first vaginal intercourse. A lower percentage of non-Hispanic white females and males had oral sex after their first vaginal intercourse compared with those who were Hispanic and non-Hispanic black. Likewise, younger age at first vaginal intercourse among females was associated with a higher percentage having had first oral sex after first vaginal intercourse. In contrast, a higher percentage of males who were under age 15 years when they first had intercourse had oral sex on the same occasion as vaginal intercourse. The investigators noted that sex differences in the relative timing of these two behaviors support other research that demonstrates that adolescent males, on average, are more likely to initiate oral sex and vaginal intercourse on the same occasion compared with adolescent females.

The complete report is available at this link: CDC

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