Sexual Intercourse

Many studies have been conducted on the age at which teens engage in sexual intercourse and the number of partners that teen have.

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey

Description: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regularly publishes the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBS) that measures sexual behaviors, alcohol and other drug use, tobacco use, unhealthy dietary behaviors, physical inactivity, and behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence. The YRBS is conducted every two years with students in grades nine through 12 at high schools across the country. It provides the most current information about adolescent sexual behavior, including history of sexual intercourse, number of sexual partners, and contraceptive use.

Key Statistics:

  • In 2005, 47% of high school students (46% of female high school students and 48% of male high school students) reported ever having had sexual intercourse.
  • In 2005, 34% of ninth grade students, 43% of tenth grade students, 51% of eleventh grade students, and 63% of twelfth grade students reported ever having had sexual intercourse.
  • In 2005, 43% of White high school students, 68% of Black high school students, and 51% of Hispanic high school students reported ever having had sexual intercourse.
  • In 2005, 6% of high school students (4% of female high school students and 9% of male high school students) reported having had sexual intercourse before age 13.
  • In 2005, 14% of high school students (12% of female high school students and 17% of male high school students) reported having had four or more lifetime sexual partners.
  • In 2005, 34% of high school students (35% of female high school students and 33% of male high school students) reported being currently sexually active (defined as having had sexual intercourse in the three months prior to the survey).
  • In 2005, among those high school students who reported being currently sexually active, 23% (19% of females and 28% of males) reported having used alcohol or drugs the last time they had sexual intercourse.
  • In 2005, among those high school students who reported being currently sexually active, 63% (56% of females and 70% of males) reported having used condoms the last time they had sexual intercourse.
  • In 2005, among those high school students who reported being currently sexually active, 18% (21% of females and 15% of males) reported having used birth control pills the last time they had sexual intercourse.
  • In 2005, 12% of high school students (13% of female high school students and 11% of male high school students) reported having been tested for HIV.
  • In 2005, 88% of high school students reported having been taught about AIDS/HIV in school.

To View this Resource: See Healthy Youth online which allows visitors to view data from 1991–2005 by topic, to compare data across years, and to see data specific to states and communities at:

apps.nccd.cdc.gov/yrbss/CategoryQuestions.asp?cat=4&desc=Sexual%20Behaviors

or See the relevant tables directly from the YRBS at

www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5505a1.htm#tab44


National Survey of Adolescents and Young Adults: Sexual Health Knowledge, Attitudes, and Experiences

Source:Lisa Lierberman, “Early Predictors of Sexual Behavior: Implications for Young Adolescents and Their Parents,” Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 38.2 (June 2006).

Description:This report contains the findings of a study to examine sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade characteristics as predictors of sexual activity in ninth grade.

Key Statistics:

  • In 2005, 47% of high school students (46% of female high school students and 48% of male high school students) reported ever having had sexual intercourse.
  • 37% of adolescents ages 15?17 (42% of males and 33% of females) reported having had sexual intercourse.
  • Among adolescents ages 15?17 who had engaged in sexual intercourse, 11% reported having first had intercourse at 12 or 13, 44% at 14 or 15, and 37% at 16 or 17.
  • Among adolescents ages 15?17 who had engaged in sexual intercourse, 42% reported 1 lifetime partner, 39% reported 2?5 lifetime partners, 7% reported 6?9 lifetime partners, and 4% reported 10 or more lifetime partners.

To View this Resource:www.kff.org/youthhivstds/3218-index.cfm


Early Predictors of Sexual Behavior: Implications for Young Adolescents and their Parents

Source: T. Hoff, et al, National Survey of Adolescents and Young Adults: Sexual Health Knowledge, Attitudes, and Experiences, (Menlo Park, CA: Henry Kaiser Family Foundation, 2003), 14.

Description: This survey contains information on adolescent sexual health knowledge, attitudes toward sex, and statistics on sexual experience.

Key Statistics:

  • In 2005, 47% of high school students (46% of female high school students and 48% of male high school students) reported ever having had sexual intercourse.
  • Seventh graders in serious relationships with older teenagers?uniquely defined as those two or more years older?have an increased likelihood of having sexual intercourse in the ninth grade.
  • Seventh graders of both genders who have had serious romantic relationships had peers who were more accepting of sexual activity, had experienced more unwanted sexual advances and situations that could lead to sex (i.e., where parental monitoring is limited) and, for females, had undergone earlier menarche.

To View this Resource:www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3811206.html


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