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More Young People Delay Sex, Try Oral Sex First, CDC Says
Date:3/3/2011

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- More young people are waiting to have sex, and more women than men are engaging in same-sex encounters, according to a new report detailing Americans' evolving sexual behaviors and preferences.

In statistics compiled from interviews with 13,500 men and women aged 15 to 44, the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth also indicates that more than half of young people under age 24 who have had oral sex did so before having vaginal intercourse.

Other revelations from the survey, released March 3 by the National Center for Health Statistics of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include three times as many women over 18 reporting being bisexual as men.

The CDC estimates that 19 million sexually transmitted infections occur each year, along with 50,000 new diagnoses of HIV infection. One function of the report is to provide public health researchers with information to develop prevention strategies targeting high-risk groups, lead author Anjani Chandra said.

"Traditionally, people tend to focus on vaginal intercourse, but they sort of forget about other types of sexual behavior," said Chandra, a health scientist at the National Center for Health Statistics, which last released a similar report using data from 2002.

Some of the findings include:

  • More young people reported never having any sexual contact with another person. In 2002, about 22 percent of youths aged 15 to 24 said they fit this description, while 27 percent of males and 29 percent of females did so in 2006-2008.
  • White youths aged 15 to 24 were more likely (57 percent) than blacks or Hispanics of the same age (39 percent) to report engaging in oral sex before ever having intercourse.
  • Twice as many women (12.5 percent) reported any same-sex contact as men (5.2 percent), a number that held steady since 2002.
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