Study Finds Fewer Teens Sexually Active, Coercion Worries Remain

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New research presented in Pediatrics on Monday has found that younger teens, or "tweens," are not as sexually active as has been represented in the media. The new study found that younger teens are in fact very unlikely to be sexually active, and that older teens are delaying sex in larger numbers than they have in recent years as well.

Younger teens for the purpose of this study were considered to be those who are between the ages of 10 and 14, while older teens were those between the ages of 15 and 19. All data for the study was gathered by the National Survey of Family Growth, which was conducted between 2006 and 2010.

Here are some of the key numbers that emerged from this latest study concerning teenagers and sexual experience.

2.4: As noted by LiveScience on Monday, researchers have found that only 2.4 percent of all 12-year olds have had sex. Corresponding pregnancy rates in that age group are also low, at approximately 1 in 10,000.

1.1: Only 1.1 percent of all 11-year olds reported that they had engaged in sexual activity. Of that number, a full 50 percent of the girls in this group reported that they had been forced or coerced into having sex.

0.6: Approximately 0.6 percent of the 10-year-olds that participated in the research said that they had been sexually active. Within that age group, an even greater number of girls, 62 percent, said that their first time had been forced or coerced.

14: Respondents who were age 14 or below who said that they had been sexually active were much less likely to use any contraceptive method during their first time than their older counterparts.

5.4: USA Today pointed out that the number of teens who are sexually active climbs steadily for each year after the age of 13. At 13, roughly 5.4 percent of all teens are sexually active, while at 14 that number rises to 11 percent.

20: A fifth of all 15-year-olds are sexually active. By the age of 16, that number rises to 33 percent, or a third of all teens.

50: More than half of all teens are sexually active between the ages of 17 and 19, but more teens are delaying sex altogether than in years past. Researchers found that some 25 percent of all teens that were surveyed went on to reach the age of 20 without becoming sexually active.

80: Researchers found some encouraging news when it came to contraceptive use among older teens. A full 80 percent of teenagers who became sexually active at the age of 15 or 16 report using at least one contraceptive method during the first time that they engaged in intercourse, while 85 percent of teenagers between the ages of 17 and 18 report using contraception during their first time.

25: Researchers reported that, overall, the chances that a teen between the ages of 10 and 19 is sexually active are at their lowest levels in 25 years.

Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in health and nutrition issues.

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