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Teen Sexual Activity Has Dropped in Recent Years, New Study Finds

Specialist 1st Class Chad Runge
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It appears that abstinence-only sexual education worked after all.

While the refrain for years from some has been that asking high school students to remain abstinent was an impossible task, none other than the liberal Guttmacher Institute is reporting that more teens are choosing to put off engaging in sexual activity, according to The Heritage Foundation.

According to the report:
 

  • For children born in 1991, the median age for their first sexual intercourse is nearing 18 years old. That’s a year later than those born just 13 years earlier.
  • Less than 6 percent of teens reported having sexual intercourse by the time they were 15 years old. Just last year that percentage was a much higher 13 percent.
  • Half of all high school students are currently abstinent.
  • In the past nineteen years, the rate of teen fatherhood dropped 36 percent.

Delaying a first sexual encounter has many benefits,especially for young women, including avoiding single motherhood, increasing one’s chances of a stable marriage, and lowering the chance that they will have an abortion. “Nearly 30 percent of women who started sexual activity at ages 13or 14 have had an abortion,” reports The Heritage Foundation. “By contrast,only 12 percent of women who began sexual activity in their early 20s have had an abortion.”

Almost certainly, pundits will argue about the causes of these changes, some short-term, some long term—but even NPR ran a story in 2010, stating that abstinence-only education “significantly reduced sexual activity.”

Originally published by Catholic Education Daily of the Cardinal Newman Society on August 8th, 2013.

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