Teenagers in the United States: Sexual Activity, Contraceptive Use, and Childbearing, National Survey of Family Growth 2006-2008

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U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This new report makes clear that not all teens are motivated to avoid pregnancy, with about 14 percent of never-married female and 18 percent of never-married male teens reporting they would be “a little pleased” or “very pleased” if they got pregnant or got a partner pregnant.

The study consisted of a series of interviews of 2,767 teenagers ages 15 to 19, of which 1,381 were female and 1,386 were male, between July 2006 and December 2008. The report includes results about sexual behavior trends, births to teens and attitudes toward sex, parenthood, marriage and cohabitation.

The report identifies an increase since 2002 among males in the use of condoms and condoms with hormonal contraceptives, as well as an increase in the percentage of teenage girls who used periodic abstinence, also known as the “calendar rhythm” method.

The majority of teens continue to believe “it is OK for an unmarried female to have a child.” The percentage of male teens advancing that belief increased to 64 percent in the current study compared with 50 percent in 2002.

Results also show that about 42 percent of never-married teen girls and 43 percent of never-married teen boys had had sexual intercourse at least once, which was not a significant change from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth results. However, there has been a slow but steady decline in youths’ early sexual activity; 51 percent of girls in 1988 had had intercourse at least once, and 55 percent of boys in 1995 had had intercourse at least once.

Also among never-married teenagers, 79 percent of females and 87 percent of males used contraception during their first sexual encounter, with the condom still being the most commonly used form of contraception.

Free, 86 pages. http://www.cdc.gov.