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Why do sexually experienced girls resume sexual activity after abstinence?
Date:3/15/2010

INDIANAPOLIS An Indiana University School of Medicine study provides a better understanding of why sexually experienced girls resume sexual activity after periods of abstinence, information key to dealing with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy in high school girls and beyond.

While there has been a significant amount of research on teenagers' initial sexual experiences, the IU study is among the first to examine changes over time in decision-making about sexual abstinence among sexually active teenage girls. This information may help tailor effective counseling to prevent adolescent pregnancy and STDs.

The new findings are reported in the March 2010 issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.

Characteristics associated with the risk of a teen girl having sex after a period of abstinence differed according to how long she had been abstinent. In the short term, a young woman was more likely to have sex when her relationship with her partner was good, when the girl felt good and when she was interested in having sex. Long term, sexual interest and relationship quality were the two most important predictors of resumption of sex after a period of abstinence.

"Sexuality is an important developmental task for teens. They need to go from childhood to sexually mature adulthood while remaining sexually disease free and without getting pregnant. We conducted this study to better understand the factors that influenced teenage girls who became sexually active again after a period of abstinence. With this new understanding we can better help young women remain healthy and avoid unwanted pregnancy," said study first author Mary A. Ott, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Diagnosis of a STD was associated with a reduced risk of subsequent sex for a short time. However having an STD increased risk for sexual activity in the intermediate time peri
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Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen
caisen@iupui.edu
317-274-7722
Indiana University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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