January 18, 2005

NBC News, PEOPLE Magazine commission landmark national poll

The vast majority (87%) of teens aged 13 to 16, have not had sexual intercourse. Most (73%) have not been sexually intimate at all. Seventy-four percent say they have not had sex because they made a conscious decision not to. As many (75%) have not because they believe they are too young. Many say they abstain because they fear the potential consequences—pregnancy (74%), STDs (71%), parents’ reaction (65%). While just more than half say it is because they haven’t met the right person yet (54%), few say it is because of a lack of opportunity (21%). Four in 10 (42%) say they have not because of religious or moral beliefs.

please read the full transcript here

Reading this report should stifle claims by religious groups and others that say our teens are being corrupted by explicit sexual references in televison and movies, but it probably won't. If anything this study shows just how intelligent teens are in expressing their understanding and practices regarding sex.

Teens are most likely to say they talk often to their friends about sex and sexual relationships (62%). Four in 10 (41%) also say they talk with their parents often. Teens are much less likely to speak with school and religious leaders.

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