Teen Sex: Not Always Bad?

Candice Lucey's picture

Researchers at two U.S. universities have concluded that sexually active teenagers do not necessarily suffer academically. The key is in the type of relationships they have with sexual partners.

For example, a teen in a committed relationship does no worse than peers who have abstained from sex. On the other hand, a teenager who has flings rather than relationships will likely see a drop in GPA. It was also said that over-fifteens involved in sexual relations of any kind are more likely to drop out (Associated Press).

Some figures say this means sex education should change to focus on relationships rather versus casual sex rather than the consequences of sex. Then again, there are more issues at stake than just grades.

Statistics on teen sex

The Guttmacher Institute published figures earlier this year showing that 46% of 15-19 year olds have had at least one sexual encounter and 13% before 15. By 19, 70% of never-married teens had lost their virginity.

Amid that 46% of teens already experimenting with sex, three quarters said they were in a committed relationship with a boyfriend, live-in partner, husband or fiancé. Yet, in spite of these figures, most teens wish they had waited.

Consequences of teen sex

Sound Vision and SADD both put out figures relating to the three most common consequences of sexual activity: STDs, pregnancy and rape.

About one quarter of sexually active teens contract STDs, including HIV/Aids. Others include chlamydia, gonorrhea and HPV. The figures do not indicate if these come from teens in committed or casual sexual relationships.

Regardless of sexual activity, the 16-19 age group is more likely to face rape, attempted rape or sexual assault, and 10% of those victims will be male.

Finally, teen pregnancies run at about 31% of the teen population (SADD). This clearly overlaps into the committed relationships, although some could be planned.


Teens are not just getting sick and having babies because of the number of partners they have. More than 14% had already slept with 4 or more individuals (Guttmacher), and 23.3% of sexually active teens had sex after taking drugs or drinking alcohol. This warrants discussion as to why children, essentially, turn to sex at all. One report suggested that media exposure provides a casual attitude to losing one’s virginity or bed-hopping. Sex appears to be a given in any relationship, within days, weeks, or on the first night. Moreover, many teens believe that the contraceptive pill and the HPV shot will protect them from HIV and other STDs. They also saw no connection between oral or anal sex and STDs and though these forms counted as abstinence. Clearly, relationships are not the only issue, since cheating, having sex with an older partner, or just a past life of casual encounters puts even the committed at risk.

Their grades may be okay, but statistics show that teens have much more to lose than a place at university.

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