Teens having less, safer sex than ever: Study

(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:08 PM ET

Not only are fears that teenagers are having more sex than ever overblown, but the reverse is true.

A Guttmacher Institute study of U.S. youths found the likelihood of sexual activity at any age during adolescence is the lowest it's been in 25 years.

And kids are following the same pattern they have been for decades. Young adolescents, for the most part, don't have sex, while older teens are more likely to experiment.

Just 2.4% of 12-year-olds said they'd had heterosexual intercourse, often the result of sexual abuse. That number rose to 33% at age 16, 50% at 17, 61% at 18 and 71% at 19.

What's more, today's teens are having safer sex than previous generations, and getting pregnant less often.

More than 80% of 16-year-olds used a contraceptive their first time. One year later, 95% were using contraceptives.

"Policymakers and the media often sensationalize teen sexual behaviour," lead author Lawrence Finer said in a statement. "But the data just don't support that concern."

The data are from the National Survey of Family Growth and the U.S. Census Bureau.


Videos

Photos