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Encyclopedia > Adolescent sexuality in the United States
Sexuality Portal

Adolescent sexuality in the United States relates to the sexuality of American adolescents and its place in American society, both in terms of their feelings, behaviors and development and in terms of the response of the government, educators and interested groups. All teens have a sexual life, whether with others or through fantasies.[1] Image File history File links Portal. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Main articles: Human sexual behavior, Adolescence, and Adolescent sexuality Adolescent sexual behavior refers to the sexual behavior of adolescents. ... This article is about human sexual perceptions. ... Teen redirects here. ... Main articles: Human sexual behavior, Adolescence, and Adolescent sexuality Adolescent sexual behavior refers to the sexual behavior of adolescents. ...


Studies have found that the average age girls are entering puberty has remained steady since the 1960s and that there is a correlation between the living conditions and the onset of menarche.[2] Lynn Ponton argues that adolescents in the United States are now physically ready for sex before they are emotionally or cognitively ready.[3] Menarche (IPA: ) is the first menstrual period, or first menstrual bleeding in the females of human beings. ...


Almost all sexually active teens reported using at least one form of contraception during intercourse, but only 75% of females aged 15-19 used some method of contraception the first time they had sex. In addition, 46% report not having used a condom the last time they had sexual intercourse.[4] A majority have been provided with some information regarding sexuality,[5] though there have been efforts among social conservatives in the United States government to limit sex education in public schools to abstinence-only sex education curricula.[6] Birth control is the practice of preventing or reducing the probability of pregnancy without abstaining from sexual intercourse; the term is also sometimes used to include abortion, the ending of an unwanted pregnancy, or abstinence. ... An early 20th century post card documents the problem of unwanted pregnancy. ... Abstinence-only sex education is a form of sex education which emphasizes abstaining from sex, often to the exclusion of all other types of sexual and reproductive health education, particularly regarding birth control and safe sex. ...


Every year 1 in 4 sexually active teens contracts an STD.[4] The number of American adolescents having sexual intercourse has dropped in recent years, but oral sex is on the rise.[7] Sexual activity is associated with risks of contracting a sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy, the latter being 2 to 10 times more prevalent in the United States than in the rest of the similarly developed countries.[8] Some psychologists believe that, given their incomplete emotional and cognitive development, adolescents are also particularly at risk to suffer from emotional distress as a result of their sexual activities.[9] It has been suggested that Duration of sexual intercourse be merged into this article or section. ... Oral sex consists of all sexual activities that involve the use of the mouth, which may include use of the tongue, teeth, and throat, to stimulate genitalia. ... A sexually transmitted disease (STD), a. ... Teenage pregnancy refers to the controversial social issue of teenage girls getting pregnant. ... Emotional distress may refer to: Law of torts: Intentional infliction of emotional distress Negligent infliction of emotional distress Medicine: Stress (medicine) see also List of emotions Category: ...

Contents

Social aspects

More than half of sexually active teens have had sexual partners they are not dating.[10][5] Atlantic Monthly social critic Caitlin Flanagan calls this a "a genuine and puzzling change in teen sexual behavior."[11] Alexandra Hall, senior editor at Boston magazine, terms it a "profound shift in the culture of high school dating and sex."[12] The Atlantic Monthly (also known as The Atlantic) is an American literary/cultural magazine that was founded in November 1857. ... Caitlin Flanagan is an American writer and social critic. ... Boston (almost invariably called Boston magazine and often incorrectly written as Boston Magazine) is a glossy monthly magazine concerning life in the Greater Boston area and has been in publication for more than 40 years. ...


Risky sexual behaviors that involve "anything but intercourse," as well as sexually transmitted diseases, are "rampant" among teenagers.[13] Ninety per cent of adolescents "agree that most young people have sex before they are really ready".[14] A sexually transmitted disease (STD), a. ...


Of adolescents age 12-16, 83% believe a person is still a virgin after engaging in genital touching, and 70% said they believed one retained their virginity after having oral sex. However, only 44% believed that one was abstinent after genital touching and and 33% believed one could have oral sex and still remain abstinent. Of anal and vaginal sex, 14% believed you could engage in the former and 12% said you could participate in the latter while still remaining abstinent.[15] According to a 2007 study published by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, "A large proportion of young people believe even an intimate level of sexual contact is abstaining from sex and being a virgin."[16] If an adolescent engaged in a particular behavior they were more likely to believe that they were still a virgin.[15]


Girls from intact homes are less likely to have had sexual intercourse.[17]


First time and frequency

Percent Of Boys, Aged 15-17, Who Claim To Be Virgins[17]
Year Percent
1988 50%
1995 57%
2002 69%
Percent Of Girls, Aged 15-17, Who Claim To Be Virgins[17]
Year Percent
1988 63%
1995 62%
2002 70%

According to a report prepared for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2001, by the time a person turns 18, slightly more than half of females and nearly two-thirds of males will have had intercourse.[18] However, adolescents who have received sexual education in school or church settings are less likely to be sexually active. For girls, they were 59% less likely and boys were 71% less likely. Epidemiologists at the Center for Disease Control emphasize that for sex education to be effective it should take place before teens become sexually active.[19] The United States Department of Health and Human Services, often abbreviated HHS, is a Cabinet department of the United States government with the goal of protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services. ...


According to the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, the percentage of teens who report they have ever had sexual intercourse has been dropping since 1991.[20] The percentage of high school students in the U.S. who reported that they have ever had sexual intercourse dropped from 54.1% in 1991 to 46.8% in 2005.[20][21] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta is recognized as the lead United States agency for protecting the public health and safety of people by providing credible information to enhance health decisions, and promoting health through strong partnerships with state health departments and other organizations. ...


Sixteen percent of adults first had sex before age 15, while 15 percent abstained from sex until at least age 21.[22] The proportion of adults who first had sex before age 15 was highest for non-Hispanic blacks (28 percent) compared to 14 percent for both Mexican-Americans and non-Hispanic whites.[22] Six percent of blacks abstained from sex until age 21 or older, fewer than Mexican-Americans (17 percent) or non-Hispanic whites (15 percent).[22] Before age 15, "a majority of first intercourse experiences among females are reported to be non-voluntary."[18]


According to one study, almost 14 percent of teens lose their virginity in June, the most common month.[23] The teen's home, their partner’s home or a friend’s house is the most common place for virginity to be lost, with 68% of teens losing their virginity in one of those three places.[23] According to the study author, "Research shows that the likelihood of a first sexual experience happening will increase with the number of hours a day teens spend unsupervised."[23]


Before the 1980s, 57% of 15 and 16 year old girls did not use contraception the first time they had intercourse. By 2007, that number fell to 25%.[17]


The percentage of teenagers who report they are currently sexually active has also been dropping since 1991. In 1997, only 37% of females and 33% of males who reported ever having had sexual intercourse said that they had sex in the past 3 months.[24] By 2005, the overall percentage of teenagers reporting that they were currently sexually active was down to 33.9%.[20] A lower number of sexually active teens is “quite positive in terms of their health and their well-being,” said Edward Sondik, director of the National Center for Health Statistics.[25]


Motivation

In a 2003 study, 89% of girls reported feeling pressured by boys to have sex, while 49% of boys reported feeling pressured by girls to have sex. In contrast, 67% of boys felt pressured by other boys, while 53% of girls felt pressured by other girls.[14]


A 2005 poll commissioned by NBC News and People magazine found that, of the teens surveyed, the reasons they had sexual intercourse for the first time were: [5] This article is about the television network. ... People, a weekly magazine of celebrity and popular culture news, debuted on February 27, 1974. ...

Major reason Minor reason Not a reason
Met the right person 62% 20% 18%
Were curious 36% 35% 28%
To satisfy a sexual desire 34% 34% 31%
Hoped it would make relationship closer 28% 28% 44%
Pressure from partner 15% 19% 65%
Wanted to be more popular and accepted 2% 16% 81%

The vast majority of 13-16 year olds, 87%, have not had sexual intercourse, and 73% have not been sexually intimate at all. Three quarters of them have not because they feel they are too young, and just as many say they have made a conscious decision not to.[5] Girls are more likely than boys to say they have made a conscious decision to wait (81% vs. 67%) and are more likely to believe they are too young (82% vs. 67%). Girls who date or hang out with older boys are "more likely to be pressured into having sex, more likely to get a sexually transmitted disease, and more likely to experience an unwanted pregnancy,"[26] and also have a higher risk for substance abuse and a combination of sex and drug use.[27]


According to one study, laws that require parental notification or consent before a minor can obtain an abortion "raise the cost of risky sex for teenagers."[28] The study found that states which have enacted such laws have seen lower gonorrhea rates among teens than states that do not have such laws. The study's researchers believe these laws lower the gonorrhea rate because teens reduce the amount of sexual activity they have and are more fastidious in the use of birth control.[28] The clap redirects here. ...


According to another study, girls who participate in girls-only activities are far less likely to experience a teenage pregnancy and less likely to be sexually active in general.[29] Participating in competitive sports has also shown to have an effect for girls. A study published in 1999 found that female adolescents who participated in sports were less likely than their non-athletic peers to engage in sexual activity and/or report a pregnancy.[30] Males interested in arts are also less likely to be involved in a pregnancy situation. It is unclear whether these correlations are causal or the reflection of the underlying bias of the considered population. The study that reported these findings did not take into account the sexual orientation of the subjects.[30]


Oral sex

Almost half of boys (47%) and fewer girls (38%) believe that oral sex is "not as big of a deal as intercourse," and 55% of teens believe that it is "very important" to be in love before engaging in oral sex. Despite this, "there is discrepancy when it comes to willingness to perform oral sex [with] 22% of sexually active girls say[ing] their partner never performs oral sex on them, while only 5% of boys say their partner never does."[5] On the other hand, New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote, "Reports of an epidemic of teenage oral sex are .. greatly exaggerated."[31] About 12% of teens aged 13-16 have had oral sex, and 13% of the same teens have had sexual intercourse.[5] Researchers believe that oral sex may have become more popular than intercourse for adolescents because teens believe it carries fewer physical and emotional risks.[32][33]


Effects of sexual activity

The American Academy of Pediatrics has identified the sexual behaviors of American adolescents as a major public health problem.[34] The Academy is concerned about the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases in sexually active teenagers and about the very high rate of teenage pregnancy in the United States compared to other developed countries. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is an organization of pediatricians, physicians trained to deal with the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents. ... A sexually transmitted disease (STD), a. ...


Adolescents and young adults have difficulty predicting the consequences their actions will bring and thus often underestimate their risk for adverse consequences.[35] Research into adolescents' sexual behavior in situations outside traditional dating situations, commonly referred to as hooking up, shows that adolescents underestimate the risk involved in such situations.[36][37] With all the issues and problems relating to adolescent sex, "ideally, they [adolescents] won’t be having sex," according to LuAnn Moraski, assistant clinical professor of Pediatric Internal Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin.[38]


Pregnancy

Teen pregnancies in the United States decreased 28% between 1990 and 2000, from 117 pregnancies per every 1,000 teens to 84 per 1,000.[4] However, a 2007 report showed 3% increase in the teen birth rate from 2005 to 2006.[39] According to the World Health Organization, the U.S. is rated 84th out of 170 countries based on teenage fertility rate, based on 2002 figures.[40] According to an international comparison conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, U.S. teen pregnancy and teen birth rates are the second-highest among 46 countries in the developed world.[41] WHO redirects here. ... The Guttmacher Institute (formerly the Alan Guttmacher Institute) is a research institute that provides global and U.S.-specific demographic statistics on reproductive matters such as birth control and abortion. ...


Sexually transmitted diseases

Between 8 and 10 million American teens contract a sexually transmitted disease each year and almost one in four sexually active teens has an STD.[42] According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, almost half of the 19 million sexually transmitted diseases reported in the U.S. occur in young people, ages 15 to 24.[43] Lloyd Kolbe, director of the CDC's Adolescent and School Health program, called the STD problem "a serious epidemic."[13] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta is recognized as the lead United States agency for protecting the public health and safety of people by providing credible information to enhance health decisions, and promoting health through strong partnerships with state health departments and other organizations. ... Sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), also known as sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), are diseases that are commonly transmitted between partners through some form of sexual activity, most commonly vaginal intercourse, oral sex, or anal sex. ... The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, is recognized as the leading United States agency for protecting the public health and safety of people. ...


Adolescent girls are more susceptible to STDs than other demographics, particularly chlamydia.[44] Chlamydia infections are among the most prevalent of all STDs and, since 1994, have comprised the largest proportion of all STDs reported to CDC. Those aged 15 to 19 years had the highest age-specific rates of reported chlamydia in 2006, accounting for more than a third of all cases.[43] Chlamydia is a common term for Chlamydiae. ...


Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections account for about half of STIs diagnosed among 15- to 24-year-olds each year.[45] In June 2006, an HPV vaccine was licensed for use in the U.S. The vaccine provides protection against both high-risk types associated with cervical cancer as well as low-risk types associated with genital warts.[43] HPV redirects here. ...


The infection rate for genital herpes rose sharply among teenagers over the last 20 years, including a 500% increase among white teens.[42] At one time, nearly half of black teens had genital herpes,[42] but a 2007 study indicates that the infection rate among teens as well as the overall population is falling.[46] Overall, the number of Americans aged 14 to 49 who tested positive for herpes 2 infection fell by a relative rate of 19 percent between 1988 and 2004 — from 21 percent in the late 1980s and early 1990s to 17 percent 10 years later, the researchers reported. The number of people aged 14 to 19 who tested positive for new herpes simplex 2 infections dropped from 5.8 percent in a 1988-1994 survey to just 1.6 percent 10 years later.[46] The Herpes simplex virus infection (common names: herpes, cold sores) is a common, contagious, incurable, and in some cases sexually transmitted disease caused by a double-stranded DNA virus. ...


Psychological health

For teens, "having sex changes you. It is emotionally powerful and there are risks involved."[47] According to University of California San Francisco pediatrics Professor Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, "We tend to focus on the health consequences of having sex, like pregnancy and STDs, but we also need to talk to them about all the emotional consequences."[32] Emotional, social and cognitive development continues well past adolescence.[48][47] With their still-developing brains, teens do not yet possess the ability to either fathom the physical and emotional consequences of sex or to deal with them once they happen.[13][47] Because the frontal lobe of the brain, which houses judgment and consequences, is not fully developed until a person is in their 20s, "teens are less prepared to think about 'if I do this today, what will happen to me tomorrow?'"[47] The frontal lobe is an area in the brain of mammals. ...


The "early initiation into sexual behaviors is taking a toll on teens' mental health" with dependency on boyfriends and girlfriends, serious depression around breakups and cheating, and suffering from a lack of goals as possible results.[13] According to psychologist Paul Coleman, "Teenagers are not mature enough to know all the ramifications of what they're doing."[9] According to Leonard Sax, author of Why Gender Matters, "Early sexual activity — whether in or out of a romantic relationship — does far more harm than good."[49]


David Walsh, from the National Institute on Media and the Family, thinks that when adolescents engage in casual sexual relationships they do not develop skills such as trust and communication that are key ingredients in healthy, long-lasting relationships.[9] In purely sexual relationships, adolescents pick up "a lot of bad habits" and don't learn "to trust or share or know how to disagree and make up," according to Laura Sessions Stepp, author of Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both.[50] They become jaded and as a result later in life, they have trouble forming adult relationships, according to psychologist Marsha Levy-Warren.[51] "They don't learn to build that emotional intimacy before they get physically intimate. In the long term, that develops bad relationship habits. They may grow up not knowing how to connect with a partner on an intimate level," according to adolescent gynecologist Melisa Holmes, author of Girlology: Hang-Ups, Hook-Ups and Holding Out[52] The National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF), founded by psychologist David Walsh in 1996, is a non-profit organization based in Minneapolis, MN. It is a nonsectarian advocacy group self-tasked with monitoring mass media for content that it deems is harmful to children and families. ...


When taking part in hookups "the kids don't even look at each other. It's mechanical, dehumanizing," according to Levy-Warren.[51] This impersonality is harmful to both girls and boys; however, girls are especially at risk of becoming victims in casual sexual relationships.[49] Girls are far more likely to feel used and abused than boys are after a typical hook up.[32][49]


Casual attitudes amongst adolescents toward sex and oral sex in particular "reflect their confusion about what is normal behavior," according to Sabrina Weill, author of The Real Truth About Teens & Sex.[9] This paradigm has entitled boys and disempowered girls,[51] putting girls at a disadvantage.[53] Adolescents who engage in oral sex but not intercourse report fewer problems with sexually transmitted diseases, guilt and their parents, but also less resulting pleasure, self-confidence or intimacy with their partners.[32] Of adolescents engaging in oral sex only, girls were twice as likely as boys to report feeling bad about themselves and nearly three times as likely to feel used.[32] Boys who engaged in oral sex were more than twice as likely as girls to report feeling more popular and confident.[32] Sabrina Solin Weill Sabrina Solin Weill is an American journalist. ...


According to the report prepared for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

Most young people in the United States begin having sexual intercourse during their teenage years. Current data suggest that slightly more than half of females and nearly two-thirds of males have had intercourse by their 18th birthday. Initial sexual intercourse experiences are usually important (and sometimes defining) events in the lives of young people. Early timing of sexual initiation is important for two reasons. First, the younger the age of first sexual intercourse, the more likely that the experience was coercive, and forced sexual intercourse is related to long lasting negative effects.[18]

Leonard Sax also reported that boys are less likely to see sex as connected to an emotional relationship than girls. However, by the time a young man has reached his early twenties, his girlfriend or his wife will become his primary emotional caregiver."[54] If he can not establish an emotional relationship with a woman, who does view sex as connected to intimacy, then he is more likely to become depressed, commit suicide or die from illness.[55] Sex therapists have found that the roots of sexual issues facing adults often date back to regretful teenage experiences.[32] Of seniors in high school, 74% of girls regret sexual experiences they have had.[56]


On the other hand, journalist Judith Levine believes that sexual activity is a normal part of adolescence and that it is not harmful. Her book Harmful to Minors discusses why she believes the stigma and taboo surrounding adolescent sexual activity has spiraled out of control.[57] Judith Levine (born 1952) is a noted author and civil libertarian. ... Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children From Sex (ISBN 0-8166-4006-8) is a controversial book by Judith Levine that was published in 2002 with a foreword by former United States Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders. ...


Correlation with other risk behaviors

According to a report prepared for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,

the younger the age of first sexual intercourse, the greater the risk of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. This is because those who begin having sex at young ages are generally exposed to risk for a longer time, are less likely to use contraception, generally have more sexual partners, and tend to engage in higher risk sexual behaviors such as alcohol or drug use prior to sexual intercourse and having multiple concurrent sexual partners. It must be recognized as well that early intercourse is frequently not voluntary.[18]

Less than 20% of teens become sexually active at 14 years of age or younger, however if they do they are six times more likely than their peers that self-identify as a virgin to drink alcohol once a week or more, four times more likely to have smoked marijuana and three times more likely to be regular smokers of cigarettes.[58] Other research also shows that risk behaviors often appear in clusters. If an adolescent is engaging in one risk behavior then there is a strong chance there may be others. For example, many teens are either using drugs or alcohol when they first have sexual intercourse.[59]


A survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy found that "7% of youth used alcohol the first time they had sex, and 6% used alcohol the most recent time they had sex."[60] Boys will use drugs and alcohol for different reasons than girls. Boys are more likely to use in order to relax and to prevent premature ejaculation.[61] Girls will often become intoxicated before engaging in sexual activities because it "numbs the experience for them, making it less embarrassing and less emotionally painful."[62]


Researchers have also found that the younger an adolescent is at the time of their sexual debut, the greater the likelihood that they will engage in delinquent acts later. Adolescents who experience late sexual debut are the least likely to participate in delinquency.[63] According to one of the study's co-authors, Dana Haynie, adolescents who start having sex at a young age may not be prepared to deal with the emotional, social and behavioral consequences of their actions.[64] Study coauthor Stacy Armour theorized that adolescents "who waited longer than average may be developing friendships and relationships that can help protect them from potentially troublesome behaviors as they become young adults...The timing of events such as sexual activity can have profound consequences for adolescents, particularly when they occur prematurely...[T]he timing of sexual initiation does matter. Adolescents need to be at a stage when they are developmentally prepared for it.”[64]


Media

Although early sexual activity may be caused by a variety of factors, the media are believed to play a significant role.[34] Research has "found a direct relationship between the amount of sexual content children see and their level of sexual activity or their intentions to have sex in the future."[65] In addition to higher likelihoods that an adolescent exposed to sexual content in the media will engage in sexual behaviors, they are also have higher levels of intending to have sex in the future and more positive expectations of sex.[66]


One study found that the relationship between exposure to sexual contact in the media and increased sexual activity among adolescents is more pronounced in white youths than black youths. Black teens are more likely to be influenced by their friends' sexual experiences and their parents expectations than by what they see in the media.[67]


According to another analysis, the American media is the most sexually suggestive in the world.[68] The sexual messages contained in film, television, and music are becoming more explicit in dialog, lyrics, and behavior. In addition, these messages contain unrealistic, inaccurate, and misleading information that young people accept as fact. A 2001 report found that teens rank the media second only to school sex education programs as a leading source of information about sex,[34] but a 2004 report found that "the media far outranked parents or schools as the source of information about birth control."[68] Adolescents may turn to the media as a "sexual super peer" when seeking information about sexual norms and adult roles given the lack of information about sexuality readily available to them.[65] Teens believe the media, as a super-peer, encourages and pressures them to have sex.[68]


Sex is usually portrayed as 'risk-free' in films, television programs, music and magazines. One media analysis found that sex was usually between unmarried couples and examples of using condoms or other contraception were "extremely rare."[65] In 2002, only 6% of television scenes that included sexual content had any discussion of risk or responsibility.[69] In television programing aimed at teens, more than 90% of episodes had at least one sexual reference in it with an average of 7.9 references per hour.[69]


According to researcher Victor Strasburger, "Teenagers who watch a lot of TV and movies are more likely to accept stereotypical sex roles and to believe that the unusual sexual behavior that is presented on talk shows is realistic."[68] Strasburger argues that although the average child sees 15,000 sexual references on television alone, missing from these references are the "healthier aspects of human sexuality, such as answers to questions about what it means to be a man or a woman, when is sexual activity appropriate, what a healthy body self-image is, and how pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease can be prevented."[68] Instead, what teens see is "unrealistic. Sex is depicted most often as a casual pastime, a romp in the hay, with little or no consequences. Most significantly for teenagers, casual sex frequently is shown as being normative behavior: everyone ‘does it.’"[68] Another study found that teens overestimate how many of their peers are sexually active, a problem contributed to by the media.[70]


Knowledge of sexuality

Most teens (70%) say they have gotten some or a lot of information about sex and sexual relationships from their parents. Other sources of information include friends at 53%, school, also at 53%, TV and movies at 51% and magazines at 34%. School and magazines were sources of information for more girls than boys, and teens "who were sexually active were much more likely to say they got information about sex from their friends and partners."[5]


Less than half of parents with daughters under 18 talk the their girls about how to say no to boys, and about half talk to them about contraception.[17] While 78% of parents believe that their daughters can talk to them about any topic, only 54% of girls believe they can discuss any topic with them.[71]


Gay and lesbian youth

Gay and lesbian youth are "significantly more likely than other students to report lifetime sexual intercourse (72% vs. 44%), sexual intercourse before age 13 (18% vs. 4%), sexual intercourse with four or more partners in their lifetimes (32% vs. 11%), and recent sexual intercourse (55% vs. 33%). Among students who ever had sexual intercourse in their lifetimes, sexual minority youth were significantly more likely than other students to report having been or gotten someone pregnant (15% vs. 4%) and having been diagnosed with HIV or another STD (10% vs. 5%)."[72] [73] Species Human immunodeficiency virus 1 Human immunodeficiency virus 2 Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS, a condition in humans in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections). ...


Gay youths are far more likely than their straight peers to drop out of school, run away from home, abuse alcohol and other drugs, engage in prostitution, or attempt, contemplate and successfully commit suicide.[74]


Contraceptive use

Of U.S. teens aged 15-19 that are having sexual intercourse, almost all (98%) have used at least one form of contraception. The most popular form, at 94% usage, are condoms and the combined oral contraceptive pill is second at 61%.[4] While 90% of teens surveyed in a poll commissioned by NBC News and People magazine knew they could get an STD from having sexual intercourse, only 67% said that they use protection every time they have sex.[5] Boys who have received sex education are three times more likely to use contraception than their peers who have not, but for girls there is no difference.[19] A standard latex condom still rolled up This article is about the contraceptive device. ... The Pill redirects here. ... NBC News endcap, used from 2002 to present. ... People, a weekly magazine of celebrity and popular culture news, debuted on February 27, 1974. ...


Girls who stop using contraception after the first time they have intercourse have been found more likely than those who continue to use it to be less able and willing to plan for sexual intercourse, less apt to believe that pregnancy was likely to occur and less apt to want to remain non-pregnant. They were also more likely to be older and to have been sexually active for at least 6 months. Girls who stopped using contraception were also less likely to have career goals and had more positive expectations themselves about the effects of childbearing on their lives.[75]


One study found that increasing contraceptive availability among teenagers reduces teen pregnancies in the short run but may result in more teen pregnancies in the long run. The researchers found "that even well intended contraception policies can be self-defeating."[76] This study also found that decreasing access to contraception leads to lower rates of sexual activity among teenagers and thus will lower the teen pregnancy rate in the long run.[76] Another conflicting study outlined the dangers of new laws being enacted that limit adolescents' access to contraceptives, including condoms.[77]


Approaches to adolescent sexual education

Two main forms of sex education are taught in American schools: comprehensive and abstinence-only. Comprehensive sex education covers abstinence as a positive choice, but also teaches about contraception and avoidance of STIs when sexually active. A 2002 study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 58% of secondary school principals describe their sex education curriculum as comprehensive.[78] An early 20th century post card documents the problem of unwanted pregnancy. ... Abstinence-only sex education is a form of sex education which emphasizes abstaining from sex, often to the exclusion of all other types of sexual and reproductive health education, particularly regarding birth control and safe sex. ... Abstinence-only sex education is a form of sex education which emphasizes abstaining from sex, often to the exclusion of all other types of sexual and reproductive health education, particularly regarding birth control and safe sex. ... The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), or just Kaiser Family Foundation, is a U.S.-based non-profit philanthropic private operating foundation headquartered in Menlo Park, California. ...


The American Psychological Association,[79] the American Medical Association,[80] the National Association of School Psychologists,[81] the American Academy of Pediatrics,[82] the American Public Health Association,[83] the Society for Adolescent Medicine[84] and the American College Health Association,[84] have all stated official support for comprehensive sex education. Comprehensive sex education curricula are intended to reduce sexually transmitted disease and out-of-wedlock or teenage pregnancies. Proponents of this approach argue that sexual behavior after puberty is a given, and it is therefore crucial to provide information about the risks and how they can be minimized. They hold that abstinence-only sex ed and conservative moralizing will only alienate students and thus weaken the message. The American Psychological Association (APA) is a professional organization representing psychology in the US. It has around 150,000 members and an annual budget of around $70m. ... The American Medical Association (AMA) is the largest association of medical doctors in the United States. ... The National Association of School Psychologists represents and supports school psychologists. ... The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is an organization of pediatricians, physicians trained to deal with the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents. ... The American Public Health Association (APHA) is a professional organization for public health professionals in the United States. ... Social conservatism generally refers to a political ideology or personal belief system that advocates the conservation or resurrection of what one, or ones community, considers to be traditional morality and social structure. ... This article is about the use of the moral in storytelling. ...


Abstinence-only sex education tells teenagers that they should be sexually abstinent until marriage and does not provide information about contraception. In the Kaiser study, 34% of high-school principals said their school's main message was abstinence-only. Some Christian organizations have propagated the idea that sexual abstinence is the approach to take, in accordance with the Christian values of waiting for marriage before having sexual intercourse, or sexual intimacy. Some organizations promote what they consider to be "sexual purity", which encompasses abstaining from not only intercourse before marriage, but also from sexual thoughts, sexual touching, pornography, and actions that are known to lead to sexual arousal. Advocates of abstinence-only sex education object to comprehensive curricula which fail to teach moral behavior; they maintain that curricula should promote conventional (or conservative) morality as healthy and constructive, and that value-free knowledge of the body may lead to immoral, unhealthy and harmful practices. Sexual abstinence is the practice of voluntarily refraining from some or all aspects of sexual activity. ... The term Christian values usually refers to values the speaker feels represent those found in the teachings of Christ as described in parts of the United States. ...


The difference between these two approaches, and their impact on teen behavior, remains a controversial subject in the U.S. A report issued by the Department of Health and Human Services has found the "most consistent and clear finding is that sex education does not cause adolescents to initiate sex when they would not otherwise have done so."[18] The same report also found that:

Family life or sex education in the public schools, which traditionally has consisted largely of providing factual information at the secondary school level, is the most general or pervasive approach to preventing pregnancy among adolescents.... Adolescents who begin having sexual intercourse need to understand the importance of using an effective contraceptive every time they have sex. This requires convincing sexually active teens who have never used contraception to do so. In addition, sexually active teens who sometimes use contraceptives need to use them more consistently (every time they have sex) and use them correctly.[18]

There have been numerous studies on the effectiveness of both approaches, and conflicting data on American public opinion. Public opinion polls conducted over the years have repeatedly found that the majority of Americans favor broader sex education programs over those that teach only abstinence, although abstinence educators recently published poll data with the totally opposite conclusion.[85][86][87] The poll sponsored by the National Abstinence Education Association and conducted by Zogby International found that: John Zogby (born 1948) is a noted American political pollster. ...

When parents become aware of what abstinence education vs. comprehensive sex education actually teaches, support for abstinence programs jumps from 40% to 60%, while support for comprehensive programs drops from 50% to 30%. This sharp increase in support of abstinence education is seen across all political and economic groups. The majority of parents reject the so-called “comprehensive” sex education approach, which focuses on promoting and demonstrating contraceptive use. Sixty-six percent of parents think that the importance of the “wait to have sex” message ends up being lost when programs demonstrate and encourage the use of contraception.[88]

A comprehensive review of 115 program evaluations published in November 2007 by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found that two-thirds of sex education programs focusing on both abstinence and contraception had a positive effect on teen sexual behavior. The same study found no strong evidence that programs that stress abstinence as the only acceptable behavior for unmarried teens delayed the initiation of sex, hastened the return to abstinence, or reduced the number of sexual partners.[89] According to the study author:

"Even though there does not exist strong evidence that any particular abstinence program is effective at delaying sex or reducing sexual behavior, one should not conclude that all abstinence programs are ineffective. After all, programs are diverse, fewer than 10 rigorous studies of these programs have been carried out, and studies of two programs have provided modestly encouraging results. In sum, studies of abstinence programs have not produced sufficient evidence to justify their widespread dissemination."

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The United States Army is the largest and oldest branch of the armed forces of the United States. ... USN redirects here. ... The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is a branch of the United States military responsible for providing power projection from the sea,[1] utilizing the mobility of the U.S. Navy to rapidly deliver combined-arms task forces. ... “The U.S. Air Force” redirects here. ... USCG HH-65 Dolphin USCG HH-60J JayHawk USCG HC-130H departs Mojave USCG HC-130H on International Ice Patrol duties The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is at all times a branch of the U.S. military, a maritime law enforcement agency, and a federal regulatory body. ... Union Jack. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  US Government Portal      Politics of the United States takes place in a framework of a presidential... Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  US Government Portal      This list of political parties in the United States contains past and present... Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  Politics Portal      Further information: Politics of the United States#Organization of American political parties The Democratic... GOP redirects here. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countriesAtlas  Politics Portal      The United States has a federal government, with elected officials at federal (national), state and... Electoral votes by state/federal district, for the elections of 2004 and 2008 The United States Electoral College is a term used to describe the 538 President Electors who meet every 4 years to cast the electoral votes for President and Vice President of the United States; their votes represent... Political Compass. ... This article provides a list of major political scandals of the United States. ... Map of results by state of the 2004 U.S. presidential election, representing states won by the Democrats as blue and those won by the Republican Party as red. ... This article is about the national personification of the USA. For other uses, see Uncle Sam (disambiguation). ... Flag of Puerto Rico The political movement for Puerto Rican Independence (Lucha por la Independencia Puertorriqueña) has existed since the mid-19th century and has advocated independence of the island of Puerto Rico, in varying degrees, from Spain (in the 19th century) or the United States (from 1898 to... Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  US Government Portal      The political units and divisions of the United States include: The 50 states... United States territory is any extent of region under the jurisdiction of the federal government of the United States,[1] including all waters[2] (around islands or continental tracts). ... Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  US Government Portal      A U.S. state is any one of the fifty subnational entities of... This is a list of the cities, towns, and villages of the United States. ... United States of America, showing states, divided into counties. ... This list of regions of the United States includes official (governmental) and non-official areas within the borders of the United States, not including U.S. states, the federal district of Washington, D.C. or standard subentities such as cities or counties. ... This article is about the region in the United States of America. ... It has been suggested that Middle Atlantic States be merged into this article or section. ... Historic Southern United States. ... This article is about the Midwestern region in the United States. ... For other uses, see Great Plains (disambiguation). ... Regional definitions vary from source to source. ... Regional definitions vary from source to source. ... The list of mountains of the United States shows the location of mountains in a given state. ... The Appalachian Mountains are a vast system of mountains in eastern North America. ... For individual mountains named Rocky Mountain, see Rocky Mountain (disambiguation). ... Rivers in the United States is a list of rivers in the United States. ... For the river in Canada, see Mississippi River (Ontario). ... The Colorado River from the bottom of Marble Canyon, in the Upper Grand Canyon Colorado River in the Grand Canyon from Desert View The Colorado River from Laughlin Horseshoe Bend is a horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River located near the town of Page, Arizona The Colorado River is... This is a list of the extreme points of the United States, the points that are farther north, south, east, or west than any other location in the country. ... The National Park System of the United States is the collection of physical properties owned or administered by the National Park Service. ... Water supply and sanitation in the United States is provided by towns and cities, public utilities that span several jurisdictions and rural cooperatives. ... USD redirects here. ... This is a list of companies from the United States: #Current companies #Former companies, including acquired and merged ones #By industry #By location #See also Contents: Top - 0–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U... Elaborate marble facade of NYSE as seen from the intersection of Broad and Wall Streets For other uses, see Wall Street (disambiguation). ... The Fed redirects here. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The standard of living in the United States is one of the highest in the world by almost any measure. ... For information on household income, see Household income in the United States. ... For information on the income of individuals, see Personal income in the United States. ... This graph shows the household income of the given percentiles from 1967 to 2003, in 2003 dollars. ... Single family homes such as this are indicative of the American middle class. ... The primary regulator of communications in the United States is the Federal Communications Commission. ... This article adopts the US Department of Transportation definition of passenger vehicle The United States is home to the largest passenger vehicle market of any country,[1] which is a consequence of the fact that it has the largest Gross Domestic Product of any country in the world. ... Current U.S. Route shield Current U.S. Route shield in California The system of United States Numbered Highways (often called U.S. Routes or U.S. Highways) is an integrated system of roads and highways in the United States numbered within a nationwide grid. ... There arergwertwertert[1] Kyle Railroad (KYLE) [2] Missouri and Northern Arkansas Railroad (MNA) [3] Montana Rail Link (MRL) [4] Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (MMA) [5] Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado RailNet (NKCR) New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway (NYSW) [6] Northern Plains Railroad Paducah and Louisville Railway (PAL) [7] Palouse... The United States of America has a large and lucrative tourism industry serving millions of international and domestic tourists. ... American cultural icons, apple pie, baseball, and the American flag. ... Population of the United States, 1790 to 2000 The demographics of the United States depict a largely urban nation, with 57 percent of its population living in places more than 100 miles away from the ocean (2003). ... For other uses, see American English (disambiguation). ... A monument to the working and supporting classes along Market Street in the heart of San Franciscos Financial District, home to tens of thousands of professional and managerial middle class workers each day. ... For other uses, see American Dream (disambiguation). ... The percentage of households and individuals over the age of 25 with incomes exceeding $100,000 in the US.[1][2] Affluence in the United States refers to an individuals or households state of being in an economically favorable position in contrast to a given reference group. ... A monument to the working and supporting classes along Market Street in the heart of San Franciscos Financial District, home to tens-of-thousands of professional and managerial middle class workers each day. ... Percent below each countrys official poverty line, according to the CIA factbook. ... This graph shows the educational attainment since 1947. ... Violent conforntation between working class union members and law enforecement such as the one between teamsters and Minneapolis police above were commonly frowned upon by professional middle class. ... Holidays of the United States vary with local observance. ... Health care in the United States is provided by many separate legal entities. ... American cultural icons, apple pie, baseball, and the American flag. ... The United States is home to a wide array of regional styles and scenes. ... American classical music refers to music written in the United States but in the European classical music tradition. ... American folk music, also known as Americana, is a broad category of music including Native American music, Bluegrass, country music, gospel, old time music, jug bands, Appalachian folk, blues, Tejano and Cajun. ... The first major American popular songwriter, Stephen Foster Even before the birth of recorded music, American popular music had a profound effect on music across the world. ... For other uses, see Jazz (disambiguation). ... American cinema has had a profound effect on cinema across the world since the early 20th century. ... This article is about television in the United States, specifically its history, art, business and government regulation. ... Hollywood redirects here. ... American literature refers to written or literary work produced in the area of the United States and Colonial America. ... The folklore of the United States, or American folklore, is one of the folk traditions which has evolved on the North American continent since Europeans arrived in the 16th century. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Transcendentalism was a group of new ideas in literature, religion, culture, and philosophy that emerged in New England in the early-to mid-19th century. ... The Harlem Renaissance(also known as the Black Literary Renaissance and The New Negro Movement) refers to the flowering of African American cultural and intellectual life during the 1920s and 1930s. ... Beats redirects here. ... The Rocky Mountains, Landers Peak, 1863 by Albert Bierstadt, one of the Hudson River School painters Visual arts of the United States refers to the history of painting and visual art in the United States. ... Jackson Pollock, No. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Closely related to the development of American music in the early 20th century was the emergence of a new, and distinctively American, art form -- modern dance. ... The United States has a history of architecture that includes a wide variety of styles. ... Social issues are matters which directly or indirectly affect many or all members of a society and are considered to be problems, controversies related to moral values, or both. ... Affirmative action is a policy or a program of giving preferential treatment to certain designated groups allegedly seeking to redress discrimination or bias through active measures, as in education and employment. ... Progress of America, 1875, by Domenico Tojetti American exceptionalism (cf. ... Anti-Americanism, often Anti-American sentiment, is defined as being opposed or hostile to the United States of America, its people, its principles, or its policies. ... Capital punishment in the United States is officially sanctioned by 37 of the 50 states of the United States, as well as by the federal government and the military. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... Prohibition in the United States aimed to achieve alcohol abstinence through legal means. ... 1970s US postage stamp block In the United States today, the organized environmental movement is represented by a wide range of organizations sometimes called non-governmental organizations or NGOs. ... The Statue of Liberty. ... A fence barrier separating Nogales, Arizona, from Nogales, Sonora, near the main downtown border crossing Fence barrier on the international bridge near McAllen, TX . ... Pornography may use any of a variety of media — written and spoken text, photos, movies, etc. ... Racial profiling, also known as ethnic profiling, is the inclusion of racial or ethnic characteristics in determining whether a person is considered likely to commit a particular type of crime (see Offender Profiling). ... International recognition Civil unions and domestic partnerships Recognized in some regions Unregistered co-habitation Recognition debated Civil unions legal, same-sex marriage debated See also Same-sex marriage Civil union Registered partnership Domestic partnership Timeline of same-sex marriage Listings by country This box:      Same-sex marriage, also called gay...

 
 

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