Monday, 7 January 2008
TEENS FIND THE BENEFITS OF NOT HAVING SEX DECLINE WITH AGE
The percentage of teens who report solely positive benefits from not having sex declines precipitously with age, according to a new study by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco.
The finding suggests that adults should give teens guidance in coping with both the negative outcomes of engaging in sexual behaviors, and the negative experiences of refraining from them, the researchers say.
The study, reported in the January 2008 issue of the “American Journal of Public Health,” studied teens from the fall of their ninth-grade year through the spring of their tenth-grade year.
Among teens who remained sexually inexperienced during the study, the percentage reporting only positive experiences from refraining from sex fell from 46 percent to 24 percent.
Among teens who were sexually experienced at the outset of the study, the percentage reporting only positive experiences from refraining fell from 37 percent to 8 percent.
The greatest change in attitudes was among teens who became sexually experienced during the study period. For those teens, the percentage who said that not having sex resulted in only positive experiences dropped from 40 percent to 6 percent.
A comparison between the groups was also illuminating. Those adolescents who were sexually experienced from the outset were more likely than those who remained sexually inexperienced to value refraining from sex (odds ratio 3.1 to 1.6).
“When we encourage teens to abstain from sex or delay becoming sexually active, we frequently over-focus on the health risks, such as unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections,” said senior study author Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, PhD, a professor of pediatrics in the Division of Adolescent Medicine at UCSF.
Corinna Kaarlela, News Director
Source: Phyllis Brown (415) 476-2557