Talking about sex and sex education gives teens ideas and leads them to experiment with sex.
Research has found that teens who do not have access to complete sexual and reproductive health information are just as likely to be sexually active as those who do. However, they are less likely to practice safe sex that will protect them from unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. On the other hand, teens whose parents talked with them about sex are more likely to delay becoming sexually active and more likely to practice safe sex when they do become sexually active.
Abstinence-only education and purity pledges help ensure that teens delay sexual activity.
There is no evidence that abstinence-only education delays teen sexual activity. One study found that teens who pledge to wait for marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as teens who don’t, but they are less likely to practice safe sex when they do become sexually active. Moreover, abstinence-only educated teens are less likely to get treated for sexually transmitted diseases.
Everyone’s doing it.
Teens often overestimate how many of their peers are sexually experienced. This can make them feel pressured to become sexually active themselves.
More teens are having sex, at a younger age, and more are practicing oral sex.
The trend is that teenagers are waiting longer to have sex. Recent research that studied teens’ sexual practices found that they are not substituting oral sex for intercourse, and are not usually having oral sex with multiple partners.
Teen pregnancy rates are going down because of an emphasis on abstinence.
After a 38% decline in teen pregnancy rates from 1990 to 2004, recent research shows that the rate started increasing again in 2006. Even after the period of decline, the teen pregnancy rates in the United States remain much higher than in other developed countries.