Sexual Behaviors across 9 National Cohorts of Young Males and Females Ages 15-19

Jacinda K. Dariotis, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Kara Joyner, Bowling Green State University
Sally C. Curtin, University of Maryland
Freya Sonenstein, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Kristin Moore, Child Trends
Elizabeth Peters, Cornell University

Although adolescent pregnancy and STI/HIV transmission are preventable, (1) youth 15-24 contribute 18.9 million new STI cases in the US annually, (2) youth under age 20 account for 750,000 pregnancies a year, and (3) youth 15-24 were responsible for 20,000 new HIV cases, half of the 40,000 total, in 2006. Sexual behaviors place these youth at risk, with timing of first sex denoting risk exposure. Using nine nationally representative cohorts, we examine cohort and sex differences in being sexually experienced and corroborate trends across different data sets. Our samples are limited to male and female never-married youth ages 15-19. We find a monotonic decrease in the percent of 15-19 year-old males being sexually experienced over cohorts and an increase-then-decrease from earlier to later cohorts for females. These results have significant implications for public health sexual outcomes among youth, and for studies that examine the timing to first sex.

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Presented in Session 147: Sex and Sexuality