Cautious teens

High school students are more likely to be virgins, according to a federal survey. Teen-agers who have sex are more likely to use condoms. Boys report fewer sexual partners. The Chicago Tribune reports on the trend:

Nationally, 53 percent of high schoolers said in 2003 that they were virgins, up from 46 percent in 1991, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance survey.

The new CDC data also highlighted a broader, ongoing trend: Fewer teens are smoking, riding without seat belts, driving with someone under the influence, and engaging in violent fights than they were in the early 1990s.

. . . In 1991, 54.5 percent of boys reported using condoms; 12 years later, that number was 68.8 percent.

Pepper Schwartz, a University of Washington professor, provided an interesting theory to explain some of the changes.

The new standard, she said, is that boys are no longer having their first sexual experience with a “bad” girl, but with a girlfriend. “Girls have some of the power, and that’s what has slowed boys down,” the professor explained. “What girls are demanding in return is that they be in a relationship.”

Teen pregnancies — and abortions — are way down too.

About Joanne


  1. But has it gone down enough to make up for the drastic drop in teens educated and mature enough to marry?

    Teen pregnancy was never the problem. Unmarried pregnancy was and is, thanks to people’s effective childhoods relentlessly rising to encompass more and more of people’s prime childbearing years, thanks to disastrously slow schooling and rearing.