Condom Use Up For Teens, But They're Not Consistent
Teens are using condoms more often, but they could use some work employing them consistently, according to a national survey. Eighty percent of teen boys used a condom the first time they had sex—that's up 9 percentage points from 2002. But when asked if they used a condom every time they had sex in the past four weeks, just 66.5 percent said yes. (About 50 percent of girls answered affirmatively.) Sexual activity overall is down when compared to a couple of decades ago, shows the four-year study of 4,662 teens age 15 to 19, released Wednesday by the National Center for Health Statistics. In it, 43 percent of girls and 42 percent of boys reported having had sex. In 1988, those figures were 51 percent and 60 percent, respectively. For those teens who reported forgoing sex, religious or moral beliefs were the most common reasons. The findings show "small changes in the right direction and probably explains the small decline in birth rates we're seeing," John Santelli, an adolescent medicine specialist at Columbia University in New York, told USA Today.
6 Ways to Prep Your Kids for an Oversexed World
Talking with kids about sex is a challenge for most parents, and it's getting harder by the day, what with children exposed to sexually explicit terms and images at younger and younger ages. Diane Levin, coauthor of So Sexy So Soon, gives these six pointers on how to help your children navigate safely through an oversexualized world, U.S. News reported. "It's much harder for parents now," Levin says. "But there's a lot more they can do than they realize."
1. Stay connected, so your child is comfortable telling you about sex or other emotionally charged issues. When children say or do something that seems inappropriate, a good start to the conversation is: "What have you heard about that?"
2. Protect children as much as possible from exposure to sexual imagery in the media and popular culture. Ban TVs and computers from kids' bedrooms. Set up a schedule that spells out how much screen time your kids have each day. Encourage other activities, including sports, music, and volunteering. [Read more: 6 Ways to Prep Your Kids for an Oversexed World.]
Condom Use Lowest...Among Adults Over 40?
Maybe it's time teens gave their parents—and grandparents—a sex talk. Condom use declines with age, recent research suggests, and adolescents are more likely than any other age group to engage in safe sex, U.S. News reported in 2010. It is adults over 40 who seem to have the strongest aversion to condoms, according to a large study whose first round of findings were published in 2010 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
"When we talk about sex and sexual health, we often focus on young people," says New York-based sexologist Logan Levkoff, who was not involved in the study. "Teens are so often portrayed as being irresponsible and promiscuous, even though that's not the case. One of the trickle-down effects is this perception by older adults that they don't need to use condoms, that sexually transmitted infections are for young people. But sexual health has to be ongoing." [Read more: Condom Use Lowest...Among Adults Over 40?]
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