Teen sex rates: Giving it up keeps going down

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A just-released Heritage Foundation report dismisses popular notions about today’s teens and their sexual promiscuity. The report cites new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which indicate that most teens have not engaged in sexual intercourse.

The percentage of sexually active teens has remained relatively unchanged since 2002, according to the CDC. But the raw number of sexually active teens has noticeably diminished in the last twenty-three-year period.

“The proportion of youths who are abstinent has risen by 17 percent among teenage girls and by 47 percent among teenage boys since 1988,” says the Heritage report.

Girls living “in intact families are 47 percent less likely to be sexually experienced than peers in stepfamilies and 37 percent less likely than peers in single-parent families,” the report reveals. “The corresponding figures for teenage boys in intact families are 37 percent and 42 percent.”

Abstinence programs, says Heritage, had had a “significant influence on participants’ behavior.” The conservative organization questions the wisdom of safe-sex programs, saying they have prevailed “in spite of parents’ overwhelming preference” for abstinence-related educational offerings.