Adolescent Sexual Behavior

Information about young people’s sexual behavior—from the attitudes they have to the decisions they make and actions they take—can help parents communicate with children, policymakers support sound public health policy, and educators craft sexual health programs. Unfortunately, there is a limited amount of scientific data on adolescent sexual behavior. Further, much of the available research on this subject is controversial, as some adults seem to feel that asking adolescents about sex is tantamount to giving them ideas and encouragement. Finally, much of the available research is focused solely on sexual intercourse or is limited to heterosexual behaviors.

This page seeks to provide a comprehensive list of accurate sources for information on a range of topics related to adolescent sexual behavior. The data in this guide is broken down into several sections: sexual intercourse, contraceptive use, alcohol and drug use, oral sex, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) adolescents, and other factors that affect sexual behavior .

Many of the studies on this page apply to more than one of these topic categories. Those studies have been listed under multiple topic headings so that all relevant data can be easily found.

For more information please see the left navigation.