Navigation Links
Young People Engaging In Sexual Activity Differ on Definitions of Virginity, Abstinence

New study uncovers inconsistencies in teens' perceptions of sex

BERKELEY, Calif., Nov. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ - Some teens believe they will stay virgins after engaging in oral sex, genital touching and even anal sex, according to a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Also, nearly half of teens said intimate touching and oral sex were not considered sex.

Respondents ranged in age from 12 to 16 years old and differed on their notion of both abstinence and virginity. More than 83 percent of surveyed young people said a person was still a virgin if he or she participated in genital touching, and 70 percent said they believed girls and boys keep their virginity if they participate in oral sex. This pattern was consistent across gender, age group, ethnicity, and sexual behavior experience.

"A large proportion of young people believe even an intimate level of sexual contact is abstaining from sex and being a virgin," said Dr. Melina Bersamin, Ph.D., lead study author. "Perhaps the overarching message is that there are different meanings associated with terms such as 'have sex,' abstinence, and virginity. When working with adolescents, it is important to specifically define what we mean by sexual behaviors to ensure a common understanding. This applies to doctors taking sexual histories, instructors delivering sex education or abstinence programs to youth, and to scientists conducting research."

The study, carried out by the PIRE Prevention Research Center in Berkeley, interviewed middle and high school students regarding their perceptions of sexual activity and what constitutes "virginity" and "abstinence." More than 900 adolescents from 10 California counties were interviewed using an in-home computer-assisted interview technique in which the young people answered questions directly on a computer, thus maximizing privacy.

Researchers found definitions of abstinence among the young people were somewhat different. More than 44 percent of the youth respondents believed that a person who engaged in genital touching was abstinent while 33 percent believed that oral sex still constituted abstinence. Additionally, more than 14 percent of survey participants defined abstinence as including anal sex and nearly 12 percent said abstinence could include vaginal intercourse.

"Perceptions of sexual behavior differed somewhat based on the individual's own level of sexual experience. Those who had engaged in a particular behavior are more likely to believe that engaging in this behavior did not preclude being defined a virgin," Dr. Bersamin said. "Differences in definitions of abstinence were somewhat complex. Female respondents were more likely to view females who engaged in genital touching as abstinent. Older adolescents were less likely than younger peers to say girls and boys who engaged in vaginal intercourse or anal intercourse as abstinent."

Ethnicity also predicted abstinence definitions. Specifically, white adolescents were less likely than non-whites to view those who engaged vaginal and anal intercourse as abstinent. Study authors emphasize that physicians and educators who work with adolescents need to be specific in their terminology if they are to communicate accurately with young people. These findings also point to the need for educational programs to discuss a wide range of sexual behaviors, including genital touching, oral and anal sex, and their potential psychological and physical risks. This is especially important given recent findings suggesting that some adolescents estimate little chance of contracting sexually transmitted diseases from oral sex.

For more information or to obtain a copy of the published report, contact Michelle Blackston at (301) 755-2444 or PIRE (Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation) is a national nonprofit public health research institute, supported primarily by federal and state research and program funds, with centers in seven locations around the country.

SOURCE Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Young womens woes
2. Young womens woes
3. Eat Vitamin C and stay young
4. Viagra Used More By Young Men
5. Movies Influence Youngsters To Drink
6. Stay young the Chinese way
7. Have sex and stay young
8. Bronchitis in the young
9. Zinc may enhance growth in Young sickle cell patients
10. Smoke less to stay young
11. Young women prone to heart attack
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/24/2015)... Dallas, Texas (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... of all charitable donations are made in the last five weeks of the year ... #GivingTuesday was created in 2012 to connect the nation’s charities with those individuals who ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... In an article ... and variables that determine which patients are or are not eligible for bariatric surgery. ... a BMI over 40, are more than 100 pounds overweight, or have a BMI ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... DMG Productions ... Ed Begley Jr., airing first quarter 2016 via Discovery Channel. Dates and show times ... the Province, and is in the business of producing and supplying medical marijuana pursuant ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Church, VA (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... — 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EST, , FDA has long ... regulations. CLIA regulations apply to performing the tests and do not meet the device ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... The Trustees, ... paid entry and parking fees at several of their most popular properties, including ... Barrington in support of REI’s Black Friday #OptOutside Campaign. The Trustees encourage families ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Natera, Inc. ... non-invasive genetic testing and the analysis of ... will present at the 27 th  Annual ... 2, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. ET.  Matthew Rabinowitz, Ph.D., CEO ... results, business activities and financial outlook. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... New York , 24. November 2015 ... des Avery Breathing Pacemaker Systems, ist erfreut, ... als Clinical Consultant bekannt geben zu können. ...   --> Foto ... Stockholm (Schweden). Von 1984-1986 war ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015   HeartWare International, ... of less-invasive, miniaturized circulatory support technologies that are revolutionizing ... President and Chief Executive Officer Doug Godshall ... th Annual Healthcare Conference on December 1, 2015 ... December 1-2 in New York . ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: