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Study: Girls take more chances during first sex
November 8th, 2010
06:15 PM ET

Study: Girls take more chances during first sex

Even though teenage boys are known for their risky behavior, it’s girls who are more likely to engage in unprotected first sex, according to research presented Monday at an American Public Health Association meeting in Denver.

Nicole Weller, a doctoral student at Arizona State University, analyzed government data and found adolescent girls were 30 percent more likely than boys to have  sex without contraception during their first sexual encounter. Weller said that surprised her.

“It does because of the history of boys engaging in risky behavior across the spectrum and then seeing that females are having first unprotected sex is telling a different story,” Weller said. For example, teenage boys are more likely than girls to drink and smoke.

But Laura Lindberg, senior research associate at the Guttmacher Institute, said boys may still have a lot to do with it. She said teenage girls are less likely than boys to want to have sex when it happens for the first time and may not do as good a job advocating for birth control. Lindberg added that contraception at first sex is 80 percent condoms, meaning birth control largely depends on the boy.

In the research presented Monday, sexual education at school did not affect use of contraceptives during an adolescent’s first sexual encounter even though more than 80 percent of adolescents receive some type of sex ed, Weller said. Nor did it matter what type they received. Weller broke down sexual education into abstinence-only, birth control methods, and information about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

The study looked at data from 5,012 boys and girls aged 11 to 19 from the National Survey on Family Growth who reported any sexual activity. The average age of first sex in that group was 16 for both boys and girls.

Studies have shown that the older a teen is before sex, the more likely they are to use birth control.

Weller plans to look at whether girls are more likely to engage in unprotected sex if they are in a relationship.

“The hypothesis is that relationship status will override sexual education. I love my boyfriend. I trust my boyfriend. I’m not worrying about getting an STD from him,” she said.

Her research also found African Americans were 40 percent more likely to engage in unprotected first sex than whites.

Weller’s presented her research as a poster at the conference, meaning it was not peer reviewed. The doctoral student said she expected to complete the research by the end of the year and submitted to peer reviewed journals early next year.

Weller conducted her work at Arizona State’s Interdisciplinary Research Center, which is funded by a grant from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities.


soundoff (364 Responses)
  1. mike

    Here is one that will make people scream, but will in effect knock out teen birth rates,,,,,,, Mandatory placement of a IUD on all teen girls when menstruation starts until they turn 20, then the tax payers and grand parents could stop raising so many children of children.

    November 9, 2010 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sadistwitch

      YOU should have an IUD forced through your urethra by a woman for her pleasure you sexist pig!

      November 9, 2010 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
    • mike

      I don't know if you ever noticed, but it is the girls that end up with the baby, then why not keep the girl from getting pregnant. After watching to many inner-city teens get pregnant. The grand parents raise them, and the tax payers pay for them, I would have to question why don't we keep teen girls from getting pregnant, Crack head mommy and daddy are not doing their job. Or are you republican and feel that keeping a good poverty level is good for the country?

      November 9, 2010 at 18:35 | Report abuse |
    • nightnurse

      Mandatory invasive procedures requiring pelvic exams for young girls with the risk of scarification of the fallopian tubes? I think not.

      November 9, 2010 at 21:21 | Report abuse |
  2. William

    Papa W has a shotgun, and every boy on this Earth better keep their paws off my daughter.

    November 9, 2010 at 09:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Oops

      I have one too but she just unloaded it :P

      November 9, 2010 at 11:10 | Report abuse |
  3. Margo Zargo

    People live a lot longer now, Remember we all used to die at around 35 and living to 80 was a rarity, so to expect kids not to have sex (abstain) is really unnatural. We expanded the sex education in public schools to add a section on birth control methods then maybe this would not happen as much. IMHO

    November 9, 2010 at 09:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. checkdent

    No, girls are doing it cause it feels great. Sex is not immoral, even for teens. What is immoral is this debate on who's responsibility it is for using condoms. Both boys and girls are equally responsible.

    November 9, 2010 at 09:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. James

    I think its awful that a lot of people on here seem to be blaming the men for the girls not insisting on using condoms. Give it a break, she is the one who is letting him do it without a condom. They share equal blame, no more than the other. And don't give me crap like she doesn't have self-confidence, that is her fault for not getting thicker skin through life, not some random boys. It seems that all the women on these boards who keep saying its the guys fault, never have been with a guy that actually respects them, that tells a lot more about you than them.

    November 9, 2010 at 09:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. teremist

    There are many things that impact a young girl's sexual choices. More than anything, she wants a guy to not only approve of her, and like her, but often substitutes sex for love and self esteem. The EMOTIONAL needs, over-ride the intellectual knowledge, that she needs protection. There are 2 key factors, in giving a young girl, the tools and desire to protect herself. One is a strong bond with her father, who values, nurtures, supports her, in a way that is CONSISTENT. The other, is establishing a history within the parental bonds, (mother or father,) of factual information about the human body that is age appropriate. These 2 things convey a sense of worth and value, that are priceless.

    November 9, 2010 at 09:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Little Miss Piggy

    Just why are so many grandparents having to raise their grandchildren and great-grandchildren when they must have been super jerks and terrible parents in the first place, and their own sons and daughters are not able to raise their own kids. There needs to be more adoptions in the world.

    November 9, 2010 at 09:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. big kabob

    I think the article is trying to reinforce the idea that the legal age for consent should be lowered to 12

    November 9, 2010 at 09:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. William really?

    William, you had to take the time to scroll down all these comments, to post a stupid @ss cliche saying like "keep your hands off my daughter"? Nobody finds that amusing, and you obviously must not have much to do with your day. I dont mean mean to be a "hater" but you're fu**** lame.

    Anyway, I think we should just sterilize half the American population through a series of vaccination programs, and bunk pharmaceuticals. Dang, half of us dont contribute anything to society, we could just localize sterilization programs to neighborhoods with the lowest employement rate or whatever statistic that will benefit mankind. If only we could put something in the water, or major food outlet ( McDonalds ) to help rid of us future transients and worthless eaters, we wouldnt have to worry about half the problems we do today!

    November 9, 2010 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. nightnurse

    Also this article is in reference to FIRST sex. research shows ( check the Guttmacher institute) that almost 20% of girls' first sex is indeed coerced.

    November 9, 2010 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Shan027

    Only sailors use condoms, Baby!

    November 9, 2010 at 10:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Ryan

    Hand out QUALITY condoms in high schools and this would be less of a problem.
    Abstinence-only education is not effective. It is a huge waste of our money

    November 9, 2010 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • nightnurse

      That would solve some problems for sure. Quality education and quality contraception!

      November 9, 2010 at 10:36 | Report abuse |
    • justawannait

      made me more in the mood.

      November 9, 2010 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
  13. sadistwitch

    @MtF Political Junkie you said girls are breaking into puberty earlier due to obestity. Where did you get that from? You are a damn fool. Yes, it is happening earlier, my daughter was 10, my second daughter is ten now and it is coming soon. They are far from obese!! I was 12 1/2 so not heredity. They are still studying this phenomenon, and don't have a real clue why yet. (I personally would blame it on hormones used for livestock, but this is just an educated opinion, and I know that.)

    November 9, 2010 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • nightnurse

      In the studies they find that puberty happens at around 100lbs across the board. We eat higher quantities of food with more growth hormones than we used to. Also the girls who go into puberty earlier are more likely to be overweight later in life. These are general trends however.

      November 9, 2010 at 10:39 | Report abuse |
    • X2

      More interesting, I didn't know that sadist witches could breed. Maybe you could cast a spell to delay it?

      November 9, 2010 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
  14. sadistwitch

    I have 2 girls and I was happy to come across this story, but not a bit SCARED by it. My first though, it SCREAMS!!!!! lack of parental involvement. I totally believe the study and to me it spells it out clearly that parents are still side-stepping this like it is 1950. Educate your kids, make sure they are properly infomred, bottom line. We all know that if we don't inform our kids, they will turn to their friends and to to the streets to be grossly misinformed. It is 100% your responsibility to be responsible for your own sexuality, and it is a parent's responsibility to prepare kids for the world.

    Smart girls will carry condoms, and smart guys will always wrap it. I am inclined to tell you of one particular situation from my past......of a guy who was well hung. He double wrapped it without exception. He was drunk one night while we were fooling around, and as things got hot he realized he only had one condom. He left abruptly, but hurried back and explained to me that he needed a second one. He insisted on two because they often broke (top shelf ones), and he remembered this while quite drunk. I forgave him for running off, and it was all well worth it.

    We were not 12, we were older but teens. I do believe less experienced teens would be more ignorant. But I also believe teens with parents who inform them are much less ignorant. Teens can be rebellious and we cannot control everything they do. But we can prepare them. Oh yes, and pure abstinence education is no education at all, pointless 1950's bull.

    November 9, 2010 at 11:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • nightnurse

      Words of wisdom. Too many parents check out on this subject. It amazes me that we are in such a highly sexualized society but afraid to talk to our kids about sex. Madonna/Whore complex? We need to get real about what sex and isn't so we arent so ashamed of it and we as a a society can educate or kiddos.

      November 9, 2010 at 11:30 | Report abuse |
  15. Mok

    Ok I want a shot at that girl in the alley. I'll ruin that pink balloon

    November 9, 2010 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sadistwitch

      I read ALL of the comments. And yours made me "burst" out laughing. Thank you.

      November 9, 2010 at 12:06 | Report abuse |
  16. sadistwitch

    @X2 very funny, amusing. I am not that good with my spells, but lucky for my girls I am an open book and we openly dicuss everything. I feel so bad for them, but they will be alright. No more breeding for me, I am 34 with my tubes cauterized and happy.

    Nightnurse, yep I read the study findings as they become available. It is a curious subject, but with no definitive ONE answer. The other poster implied that it happened solely because of obesity. Then you mention what I did about hormones. My girls have happened to be more developmentally advanced since birth. Physically and mentally. They are both extremely tall with monster feet LOL and did all milestones "early". Obesity does not run in our families and they are are right on target with BMI for height, for years. However, I am aware this is not the national trend. I have always fed my kids pretty healthy, and I grill them even now as they are older, to make smart food choices as diet affects overall health and for the long term.
    I am not at all refuting what you said, but I refuse to believe we have come to an actual conclusion regarding early puberty.

    November 9, 2010 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • nightnurse

      Agreed, We know some of the reasons but not all of them. If your girls are tall then they weigh more, doesn't mean they are obese. :) It is an interesting subject with a biosocial twist. Girls with step-daughters enter puberty before girls who live with their natural fathers or just their mothers, for instance. Also their is so much we don't know in regards to the hormones we inject into our food. I'm leaning towards organics. :)

      November 9, 2010 at 11:27 | Report abuse |
    • sadistwitch

      "Girls with step-daughters enter puberty before girls who live with their natural fathers or just their mothers, for instance" This must be the "real" reason, LMAO explains it all. Their father died.

      ....And all you guys screaming that a girls get off scott free because child support is what costs.......this bastard owed more than $18K when he died. He refused to pay $100/wk support for 2 girls, despite being threatened with jail numerous times (never went). This dirtbag represented the national trend, and he is the one who got off easy so all of you can shove it!!!!!

      November 9, 2010 at 12:15 | Report abuse |
    • nightnurse

      Amen... men don't pay the majority of the time.

      November 9, 2010 at 12:36 | Report abuse |
    • nightnurse

      "Step -daughters?" jeez, no typing without coffee anymore....I meant step-dads

      November 10, 2010 at 01:28 | Report abuse |
  17. realist

    Girls should be more open to anal. You totally don't need a condom in that case and it feels so much better.

    November 9, 2010 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sadistwitch

      Hey fool, you are at a much higher risk for contracting STD from anal!! Get a real book and read it.

      November 9, 2010 at 12:17 | Report abuse |
    • nightnurse

      Yeah not quite, sweetpea. The mucosal lining in the anus is more likely to rupture leaving you with blood as well as body fluids. Great way to catch something icky....

      November 9, 2010 at 12:39 | Report abuse |
    • realist

      Yeah right. I've been doing anal for years with lots of different men and never "tore" myself open. You just need the proper lube – and the best is right there in your mouth – saliva. Get real stupid.

      November 9, 2010 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
    • sadistwitch

      "LUBE" don't protect against STD either dummy. And if your reading comprehension were up to par you would be smart enough to realize if you are are playing in a mucous membrane belonging to someone with STD, you are playing with fire. You don't have to have a tear involved. But anal can absolutely cause fissures.

      Ever wonder why AIDS is more prevelant in the homosexual male community? Maybe you should shove a sock in your hole until you properly educate yourself.

      November 9, 2010 at 16:18 | Report abuse |
    • nightnurse

      Actually you have. They are called micro tears. They happen all the time, including when you have a BM.

      November 9, 2010 at 21:23 | Report abuse |
    • sadistwitch

      nightnurse.......You really are a smart lady and I am glad you are here today. I am glad I am not the only one hollaring trying to knock some better sense into certian people for the nonsensical things they are saying, and the risky things that could cost their life someday........If just one person has learned something from me and my big mouth today, I will sleep better tonight. Perhaps because you are here, two people learned something today.

      November 10, 2010 at 00:21 | Report abuse |
    • nightnurse

      Thanks! I really appreciate that. During a community health project I was supposed to teach sex ed to a group of 7th grade girls at a private school for lower income children. When I studied their risk factors, education restrictions and the knowledge deficit I was flabbergasted. There is so much misinformation out there. Thank you for putting the truth out there today. You might have saved someones life. :)

      November 10, 2010 at 01:08 | Report abuse |
  18. sadistwitch

    Girls, get some cheap ones and practice your skills. Learn to slip one on him before he can bat an eyelash, and if you get really good at it......do it with your mouth, they think this is super sexy. This gives the guy no choice, they have to wear it, and they will forget all about it and remember how sexy you were instead. (Also with practice it ensures it is put on properly, something many guys actually suck at.)

    Parents, the least you can do is buy a box of condoms "for the house". Put them with the other"medicines" show your teen where they are, and hand him/or her the instructions and tell them to make sure they read ALL of them. At least this way they will know the proper way to use one (very important) and how condoms work to reduce STD and the risk of pregnancy. This makes them available and free. I think my 15 year old girl is now getting them in her Xmas stocking LOL.

    November 9, 2010 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • nightnurse

      Bwahahaha!Love it!

      November 9, 2010 at 12:40 | Report abuse |
  19. Jessica Denise

    I'm kind of curious about how education of parents affects this.

    November 9, 2010 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. just2reason

    Amazing. This society still considers advocating abstinence as "sex education." Until that conservative nonsense is outgrown, teen pregnancy and STDs will be abundant and plentiful. Re: "Weller broke down sexual education into abstinence-only, birth control methods, and information about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)"

    November 9, 2010 at 13:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JEM

      Religion has had a very damaging affect on numerous societies over thousands of years. Ruining sex education for a society is just par for the course.

      November 9, 2010 at 19:12 | Report abuse |
  21. Andy

    The pill. Should be free.

    – A

    November 9, 2010 at 13:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Jake

    Strange, How come when the GIRL becomes pregnant the "one night stand" guy is thrust forceibly into becoming a parent when both of them just wanted to have sex? I say if either of the two do not want to become parents then the person opting to keep the baby maintain full economic responsibility without entangling the other person whom only wanted to have sex.

    November 9, 2010 at 13:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. 22A

    If people had sex only with their husband or wife we wouldn't have this problem with STDs or teen pregnancy, or any worry at all for that matter of fact.

    November 9, 2010 at 13:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mcoldguy

      It's just that easy! (SARCASM)

      November 9, 2010 at 14:30 | Report abuse |
    • Just2Reason

      What's your favorite ice cream. Okay, you can't have any more. Do you care what I say? People are going to have sex, because that's what healthy people do. And, as opposed to ice cream, sex is actually good for you.

      November 10, 2010 at 14:08 | Report abuse |
  24. Jake

    I agree Andy. I also contend that guys should slip the morning after pill in a girls drink just in case.

    November 9, 2010 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Jake

    22 A = living in fantasy land.

    November 9, 2010 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Willie

    Whenever I am prompted to use protection with a sexual encounter, I bring a gun.

    November 9, 2010 at 13:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Kaethe

    So according to the Guttmacher Institute, some percentage of girls' "first sex" is actually rape. Why is anyone surprised that rape wasn't practiced safely? And why are girls being blamed for this?

    November 9, 2010 at 14:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JEM

      Rape is not taken seriously in our society. Do a Google search for "UNTESTED RAPE KITS" and see how seriously rape is taken by many of our countries police forces.

      November 9, 2010 at 19:08 | Report abuse |
  28. Aaron Rowdawg

    Ahhh to be 16 and banging away unprotected again.

    November 9, 2010 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. dave

    Both partners are EQUALLY 100% responsible for themselves

    November 9, 2010 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. dave

    nice picture - hispanic kids in alley

    November 9, 2010 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. orgasmus

    um something about all these conversations has made me in the mood.

    November 9, 2010 at 15:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Parkerman

    I am sorry, but at that age and in the heat of the moment not too many are going to stop and discuss protection. Hormones take over and your logical brain is disconnected. This is why sex should be taken much more serious than it is often taken at that age. Too young to understand the consequence.

    November 9, 2010 at 16:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sadistwitch

      Not too young to understand consequences if someone has taken the time to educate. This is where parents today are lacking. Parents need to educate before kids get to this point, so they are prepared, so they will make better choices.

      November 9, 2010 at 16:49 | Report abuse |
    • JEM

      Too much of a SLUT factor. Girls don't carry or demand the use of condoms because
      they feel it makes them look slutty. If we could get over calling girls who have sex sluts
      and whores than we could take a more rational approach to subjects such as this

      November 9, 2010 at 19:05 | Report abuse |
  33. dgfg

    those were the days

    November 9, 2010 at 16:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. T

    Beware of a woman that doesn't want to use a condom.

    November 9, 2010 at 16:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sadistwitch

      And run from a man who refuses. It goes both ways.

      November 9, 2010 at 16:51 | Report abuse |
  35. Big Jiggly

    If you're going to tag it, you'd better be prepared to bag it. No exceptions, especially if it's with a first time, random hookup. PERIOD.

    November 9, 2010 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. JEM

    Girls should all be given Norplants when they turn 12.

    November 9, 2010 at 19:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sadistwitch

      But isn't this almost as bad as the generalization that all menstruating girls should be forced to have an IUD? How can someone rationalize that forcing this on society will make things better? It's nonsense. Same goes for someone who said all boys should have a vasectomy then later be allowed a reversal under certian circumstances. Makes no sense from a practical standpoint.

      November 10, 2010 at 00:12 | Report abuse |
  37. Dan

    "...girls were 30 percent more likely than boys to have sex without contraception..."
    That doesn't make sense. It takes one boy and one girl to have sex. Otherwise, there's no need for contraception. Maybe girls are just 30% more honest.

    November 9, 2010 at 21:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Will

    Why is an unfinished study that was done by a doctoral student and hasn't even been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal making headlines here?! C'mon CNN, you should know better. Stop plastering attention-grabbing headlines in the name of science and research before the validity and conclusions of this study have been reviewed by the scientific community.

    November 10, 2010 at 01:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. nightnurse

    Good night. Good luck, and don't forget to wear a rubber! – Steven Tyler

    November 10, 2010 at 05:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Gerry

    I'm pretty good about using one but most times the girl tells me up front to NOT use one.

    November 26, 2010 at 03:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Amy

    Am I misreading something? It takes two to tango. So how are girl more likely to skip birthcontrol? Isn't there a boy there with her? Is it not the boy's first time? Bottom line, kids need direction and not to be alone. When I was in high school my boyfriends had to come to our house and with three younger siblings in heavy petting was out of the question? Someone was always popping in and showing up. Have we lost our minds?

    December 13, 2010 at 11:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Breanna

    For the record, theyre teenagers, and most teens do notthink with the head on their shoudlers...if ya know what I mean. However, they shpould be more responsible, no matter the gender of adolecent.

    January 7, 2011 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
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