We live in a highly sexualized society. There are sexy Instagram accounts, YouTube Channels, and sexy advertisements plastering our communities. Sex is everywhere, accessible, and visible in every area of media. The pop culture perception is teenagers are sexually charged and engaging in such behaviors at an early age. However, new research in 2015 from the CDC has shown more teens are waiting to have sex.
The federal government research shows less than half of teenagers, ages 15-19, are having sex. In fact only, 44 percent of girls and 47 percent of boys had intercourse at least once between 2011 and 2013. This has decreased since 1988 when 51 percent of girls and 60 percent of boys were having sexual intercourse as teens.
The AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s scared a lot of teenagers into waiting to have sex. It launched the “safe sex” movement. Also due to high teen pregnancy rates, the pregnancy prevention education became a part of the “safe sex” education. Those efforts did help to decrease the percentage of teens who were sexually active, but is that why teens are waiting to have sex? Is there more?
An independent study, through the Barna Research Group, was conducted after seeing the number of sexually active teens decrease in the last twenty years. It revealed, through a deeper study, that teens are waiting to have sex for more reasons than just “I’m scared about getting an STD” or “I don’t want to get pregnant.” In fact, research showed 42% of teenagers who chose not to have sex, did so for “personal values.”
Research also shows teenagers are thinking more critically about their decision to wait to have sex. Fear is no longer the driving the factor, but personal values.
“PATH is committed to bringing age appropriate and medically accurate information to youth that will empower them to make healthy choices. Our evaluation data confirms that as youth recognize their value and potential, they are more likely to make choices that will support their future rather than making risky decisions that can put their future at risk.” shared Donna Golob, Executive Director of PATH, Inc.
A Positive Approach to Teen Health (P.A.T.H) is a 501(c)3 organization that reaches seven counties throughout Northwest Indiana. Since 1993, A Positive Approach to Teen Health has been working to empower teens to make healthy choices regarding drugs, sex, alcohol, and violence.