Less Than Half of Teens Have Had Sex

Oct 12, 2011, 13:25 ET from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

Condom Use Improves for Teen Boys

Statement from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Less than half of teens (ages 15-19) have had sex and the percentage of teen boys who used a condom the first time they had sex is on the rise, according to a new report released today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

Other findings from the NCHS report on teen sexual activity and contraceptive use in the United States 2006-2010 include:

  • Dramatic improvements seen over the past two decades. Teen sexual activity and contraceptive use have both improved quite dramatically since 1988. The percentage of teen girls who have had sex declined from 51% in 1988 to 43% in 2006-1020; for boys, the percentage who have had sex declined from 60% to 42% during the same time period. Teen contraceptive use has also improved over the long run. The percentage of teens who say they used any method of contraception the first time they had sex increased between 1988 (67% of girls and 71% of boys) and 2006-2010 (78% of girls and 85% of boys).
  • There is no gender gap when it comes to teen sexual activity. About 43% of teen girls and 42% of teen boys say they had sex—essentially unchanged from 2002.
  • Some improvements in contraceptive use reported. Although teen contraceptive use overall has remained nearly unchanged since 2002, there are some noteworthy improvements. Among teen boys, about 80% say they used a condom when they first had sex—an increase of nine percentage points from 2002. Teen boys' use of dual methods of contraception (the use of a condom combined with a hormonal method) has also increased. Among teen girls, the use of hormonal methods of contraception other than the pill (such as injectables and the patch) increased from two percent in 2002 to six percent in 2006-2010.
  • Religion and morals cited. The primary reason teens give for not having sex (among those who have never had sex) is that it is "against my religion or morals." Some 41% of teen girls and 31% of teen boys cite this as the main reason they have not had sex.
  • Some teens remain ambivalent about pregnancy. A small but significant percentage of teens (13% of girls and 19% of guys) say they would be pleased if they got pregnant/ got someone pregnant at this point in their lives.

"The nation's teen pregnancy and birth rates are now at record lows and the credit for this truly extraordinary progress goes to teens themselves who are making better decisions about sex and contraceptive use," said Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "We also applaud NCHS for this important report and for continuing to set the standard for quality data on many important issues."

The full NCHS report can be found at: www.cdc.gov/nchs.

About The National Campaign: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy seeks to improve the lives and future prospects of children and families. Our specific strategy is to prevent teen pregnancy as well as unplanned pregnancy, especially among single young adults. We support a combination of responsible values and behavior by both men and women and responsible policies in both the public and private sectors. If we are successful, child and family well-being will improve. Please visit http://www.TheNationalCampaign.org to find out more.

SOURCE The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy