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HUMAN SEXUALITY:

STUDIES OF YOUTH SEXUALITY

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Results of some studies:

bullet First Sexual Experience: Most surveys show that the average age at which a person becomes sexually active is 16 years. One US survey revealed that 63% of youth aged 14 to 21 are sexually active. Another found that 70% of youth will become sexually active before graduation from high school. The National Center for Health Statistics conducted a survey in 1995 and released its results in 1997-MAY-1. It showed that 50% of 15 to 19 year old young women and 55% of young men have engaged in sexual intercourse at least once. The corresponding numbers in 1988 were 55% and 60%. 

40% of women will become pregnant during their teen years; 20% of teen women will have a child.  1
bullet Use of contraception: The National Center for Health Statistics' 1995 survey shoed that 76% of women of all ages reported the use of contraception during their first sexual experience. This is an increase from 64% in 1988. Both surveys showed increases in condom uses. In response to the release of the survey on 1997-MAY-1, John Hutchins, spokesperson for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy said: "It's the reversal of a trend that's been going the other way for two decades, but we still have a long way to go. The United States is two times as high as the closest industrialized nation, Great Britain, in teen pregnancy and teen births."
bullet Youth Suicide: A US federal government study into youth suicide has revealed that up to a third are done by young people who are gay or lesbian. Assuming that 5% of youth are homosexual, then the suicide rate of homosexual youth may be six or seven times normal for their age group. There are two main reasons given for this high rate:
bullet Many conservative Christians believe that homosexual behavior is abnormal, unnatural; this causes may gays and lesbians to commit suicide.
bullet Many others feel that some gays and lesbians are unable to come to terms with their homosexual orientation. Many gays and lesbians had been taught to hate homosexuality and homosexuals during their childhood. As teens, they become aware of their own sexual orientation, and are certain that they have no possibility of changing. Many terminate their lives rather than face a lifetime of homosexuality, and the hatred, physical danger and abuse that they would be exposed to.
bullet Condoms and Cervical Cancer: A consensus exists that cervical cancer is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) which is spread sexually. The cellular structure of an adolescent female's reproductive system is much more likely to encourage the development cervical cancer than the system of an older woman, All women are regarded at high risk except those who delayed sexual activity until adulthood, had only one or two sexual partners during their lifetime, and in which those partners only had one or two partners. Fortunately, condoms are effective in stopping the passage of the virus to women. Condoms are not perfect. HPV can be passed between sexual partners even if a condom is worn. This is because HPV can infect areas of the skin not covered by a condom. Fortunately, this is rare. Also, Pap smear tests are effective in detecting early indications of cervical cancer.

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References:

  1. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy has a web site which contains many facts and figures on teen pregnancy at:  http://www.teenpregnancy.org/teen/facts/factfig.html 
  2. "Our Whole Lives:  lifespan sexuality education curricula." at: http://www.uua.org/owl/
  3. I. De Vincenzi "A longitudinal study of human immunodeficiency virus transmission by heterosexual partners". New England Journal of Medicine 1994;331:341-346.

Copyright 1996, 1998, and 2000 to 2002 incl., by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 1996-JUN-6
Latest update: 2002-FEB-23
Author: B.A. Robinson

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