CDC Report Reveals Encouraging Teen Sex Statistics

Overall, researchers considered the CDC's latest teen sex statistics to be positive.
Published: June 23, 2017

Fewer teenagers are having sex and more of them are using forms of birth control compared to past decades, a study by the Centers for Disease Control found.

The teen sex statistics were welcomed by health experts and seem to align with a historic low in the teen birth rate.

“The overall trends [in the report] are positive,”Dr. Ellen Rome of the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Adolescent Medicine told CBS News. “We have more kids choosing not to have sex and that’s great news.”

Of male teens aged 15 to 19, 44 percent reported having sex at least once, while 42 percent of females reported having sex. Those numbers were 60 percent for males and 51 percent for females in a similar study conducted in 1988.

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Additionally, 99.4 percent of female teens that reported having sex said they used some type of birth control, such as a condom, an oral contraceptive pill or withdrawal.

But health experts still found room for improvement. For instance, 60 percent of females who used a contraceptive method reported using withdrawal, one of the most unreliable birth control methods.

Typical use of withdrawal results in around 18 percent of couples becoming pregnant, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

“We have more kids using some form of contraception, but the problem is that lumped into that is the group [using] withdrawal as that method,” Dr. Rome said. “So we have room for improvement in how we counsel kids on effective contraception.”

One of the study’s authors, Joyce C. Abma, Ph.D., also noted that the teen pregnancy rate is higher in the U.S. than in other developed countries.

Researchers interviewed more than 4,000 people aged 15 to 19 between 2011 and 2015 to gather data that would be representative of teen sex statistics in the country.

A team from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics conducted the research.

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