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US Observers Concerned Over Increasingly Permissive Atmosphere

Permissive atmosphere is taking heavy toll of the US. Time something is done to protect the youth.

How far? Where does one cross the line? These are always problematic questions, especially when it comes to sexual mores.

Unrestrained hedonism could pose serious public health threats, observers in US warn. As per a recent survey just 4 percent of U.S. adults are virgins and a fifth have tried hard drugs like cocaine and crack.

What most alarms researchers is how young they start.

"We have a public health problem in that we still see a lot of adults reporting their sexual debut at a pretty young age," said Dr. Kathryn Porter of the National Center for Health Statistics, who led the survey of more than 6,000 people.

"That is an area of concern because risky sexual behaviors can result in sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies," she said in a telephone interview.

Ninety-six percent of U.S. adults aged between 20 and 59 have engaged in some kind of sex, including oral and anal sex, according to the study published on Friday.

The researchers believe they have one of the most honest assessments yet of sexual behavior and drug use because they used a new method to do the survey, which is available on the Internet at http: www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad384.pdf.

"They answered this in complete privacy," Porter said.

"They have a headset on, they touch a computer screen. This is the first time we just looked at statistics for sexual behavior and drug use alone."

There were no surprises, Porter said, but what researchers already know is troubling.

"Among non-Hispanic blacks, 28 percent reported having first had sex before the age of 15," she said.

The number was 14 percent for whites.

The survey, done between 1999 and 2002, also showed 46 percent of black men said they had 15 or more sexual partners in a lifetime.
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