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Teenagers Are Having Less Sex

[This post is part of our series on Let’s Talk About Sex] The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the US has issued some new stats on teenage sex. Compared to 25 years ago, the numbers are the lowest, but little has changed in the last few years.

This study showed that 44% of girls and 47% of boys between 15 and 19 reported being sexually active. In 1988, these numbers were 51 and 60 percent respectively, so these stats show a drop. However, if you look at the last few years (2006 till 2013) the changes are not statistically significant, the CDC reports, meaning that they’re pretty much the same and even show some growth for the boys to the level they were at around 2002.

Teenage sex graph

The older kids got, the more sexually active they were: 15% of 15-year olds was sexually active against 68% of 18-year olds.


What do these figures and stats mean for us as youth leaders?

I was pleasantly surprised by these figures to be honest. I’m not saying that 45% of teens being sexually active is good news, but I had expected these numbers to be higher to be honest. Let’s constantly make sure that we ‘arm’ ourselves with facts and not blindly accept the hyperboles and sensationalized ‘facts’ from the media, especially when it comes to teens and what they supposedly do.

But in the bigger scheme of things, it means that sex has to be a topic we discuss in our youth ministries. Sex is a reality for teens, whether they are sexually active themselves or not. They see it in the media, they see their friends doing ‘it’, and they may be be experimenting themselves. Sex has to be something you talk about in your ministry, especially from God’s viewpoint. We need to offer a healthy and loving ‘antidote’ to the just-do-it message they get from the culture they’re in.

It may surprise you, but sharing these stats may help your teens as well. Studies show that teens, guys especially, tend to overestimate how sexually active their friends are. When asked to estimate how many of their friends were having sex, teens tended to over-estimate this big time. Guys especially tend to brag about their sexual activity, leading each other to worry whether they’re lagging behind. Sharing these stats ensures teens know they’re not a small minority when they’re not sexually active. It may relieve some of the peer-pressure.

What do you think of these numbers? What are you thoughts and conclusions?

[Source: CDC report]
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