Among 15-to-24-year-olds, 29 percent of females and 27 percent of males report no sexual contact with another person, ever. By way of comparison 2002, 22 percent of both sexes reported no sexual contact with another person.
13 percent of women (aged 15 through 44) report some “same-sex sexual behavior” in their lifetime, while only 5 percent of men do. Further, 9 percent of women with bachelor’s degrees or higher report same-sex encounters, while 15 percent of women who had not graduated from high school report such. And while 6 percent of male college graduates report same-sex encounters, only 3 percent of men who had not finished high school report such.
All these are findings from the most recent results of the National Survey of Family Growth. The survey gathers information about family life, marriage and divorce, pregnancy, infertility, use of contraception, and men’s and women’s health. It was first done in 1973; the latest findings are based on a random sample of 13,495 Americans, ages 15 to 44, done from 2006 to 2008. The federal government’s Department of Health and Human Services conducts the survey which, as the Washington Post says, ‘provides basic information for public health policymakers concerned with such issues as sexually transmitted disease.’
Parts of the survey are ‘now so explicit’ that some questions are only asked using a computer screen, even though the interviewer and the subject are face to face. Originally, the survey only included married and formerly married women; as single women and then men were queried, the questions on the survey have become more detailed about sexual practices.
One such subject is teenage oral sex. Some results as reported in the Washington Post:
The latest results provides support for the idea that some teens limit their sexual activity to oral sex either to preserve their virginity or because they view such encounters as safe. Public health officials say the latter is a misconception, and some sexually transmitted infections, such as herpes and human papillomavirus, can be transmitted by oral-genital contact.
Among 15-to-17-year-olds, 7 percent of females and 10 percent of males report having oral sex but no vaginal sex. That fraction, however, declines rapidly among older respondents. In the 20-to-24 age group, only 3 percent of females and 4 percent of males report oral-sex only activity.
In the 25-to-44 age group, however, 98 percent of females and 97 percent of males report having had vaginal intercourse, with about 90 percent having oral sex as well. Slightly more than one-third (36 percent) of women and 44 percent of men report having had anal sex.
The survey also provides information based on whether people live in urban vs. suburban vs. rural areas; on their religious affiliation; and on living arrangements.
No doubt the findings about an increase in teenage virginity will get more than a bit of attention, especially as critics continue to blame our popular culture, which is rife with erotic and sexual content (obvious and not so obvious).
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