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

od and was unrelated to the decision to have sex in the long run. The study authors hypothesize that the switch may reflect either relationship turmoil after diagnosis of an STD, followed by "make up" sex, or may reflect adherence to Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for a period of abstinence following STD treatment, followed by resumption of previous sexual activity.

"Either way, the findings suggest that counseling only about abstinence after a sexually transmitted infection is insufficient. Clinicians should anticipate resumption of sexual behavior and tailor counseling appropriately," said Dr. Ott.

The researchers also found that, in the short term, girls who characterized themselves as irritable, angry or unhappy were unlikely to return to sexual activity after a period of abstinence. That finding contradicts anecdotal information that depressed individuals are likely to engage in sexual activity.

The researchers evaluated 354 sexually active urban teen girls for up to four and a half years between 1999 and 2006. Study participants were 14 to 17 years old and not pregnant when they enrolled. Sexual experience was not an inclusion criterion, but 81 percent of participants were sexually experienced at enrollment; most of the others had their first sexual experience during the study period.

Participants reported a total of 9,236 abstinence periods, which averaged 31 days.

"Having data from the same group of young women over such a long period of time, as they go through periods of having sex and times when they are not having sex and as they change partners, enables us to understand a complex process of motivation in a way that previous studies have not. What we have established in this study are the major factors associated with the decision to resume sex," said study senior author J. Dennis Fortenberry, M.D., professor of pediatrics.


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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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