Teens and Sex: Stop Worrying and Start Talking

Worried that your teen is having sex? Now's the time to talk to him about it.
Don't Believe the Hype
Pensive teen boy close up looking at camera

It's easy to get the impression in today's highly sexualized culture that every teenager in America is having sex.

Don't believe it. The reality is that most teenagers in high school are not having sexual intercourse. According to the most recent data available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, some 49 percent of high school boys and 48 percent of high school girls have had sexual intercourse. This means that high school students who are not sexually experienced are actually in the majority.

It's also easy to get the impression that there is little, if anything, anyone -- and especially parents-- can do to stop teenagers from having sex. Don't believe that either. The percentage of sexually active teens aged 15 to 19 has actually decreased by 11 percent since 1991. Somebody must be doing something right.

And thank goodness. The fact is teens who engage in early sexual intercourse are more likely to do poorly at school, use alcohol and illicit drugs, and smoke cigarettes, than those who don't.

Continued on page 2:  The Risks of Teen Sex