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Teens and Sexual Health: Study On Myths

Armen Hareyan's picture

Study, focusing on teenagers and their sexual health shows oral sex is no substitute for vaginal intercourse.

Today the Guttmacher Institute released the results of recent research that breaks the myth that teens are substituting oral or anal sex for vaginal intercourse in order to continue to claim they are still virgins.

The research reveals that, in fact, 55% of young people (15-19 years old) have engaged in heterosexual oral sex, 50% have engaged in vaginal sex and 11% have had anal sex. The myth-busting part of the study shows that oral and anal sex are initiated most commonly only after vaginal intercourse. According to the media release from Guttmacher:

"While only one in four teen virgins (26%) have engaged in oral sex, once teens have had vaginal intercourse, the proportion increases incrementally. By six months after first vaginal sex, more than four out of five adolescents (81%) have also engaged in oral sex, and by three years after first intercourse, nine in 10 (92%) have done so."

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The conclusions researchers drew from these results?

Young people are clearly engaging in some risky sexual behavior in terms of exposing themselves to the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Therefore what is most needed for this population is access to clear, thorough and medically accurate education that ensures they understand the risks associated with particular sexual activities and how to protect themselves from STIs.

As Laura Lindberg, a senior research associate with the Guttmacher Institute puts it, "The federal government's exclusive emphasis on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs does not give teens the skills and information they need to be safe."

Yet more conclusive evidence that young people require - deserve - access to comprehensive sexual health information to ensure their health.

Author Amie Newman publishes at