Why Are Teenagers Really Having Less Sex?

Last week I wrote a “Youth Culture Window” article on a subject I would earmark as very important, Are Teenagers Really Having Less Sex? And How to Continue This Trend. The interesting part of this whole study is the fact that no one knows why teenagers are having less sex. What’s your theory?

Here’s the situation. If you read the article– and I encourage you to take 5 minutes and do so– you’ll see that sexual activity has gone down from the late 1980’s to 2002ish. Since then… no statistically significant change (a fact overlooked by most the headlines). So the question I asked the CDC, the “National Campaign,” and Pam Stenzel’s ministry is this:

In a country where media is growing more gratuitously sexual and porn is ubiquitous, why are less teenagers having sex?

Then I asked this follow-up question:

And at the same time that sex is decreasing, why do STD’s seem to be either growing, or at least more apparant?

I posted my two cents and the opinions of the experts I interviewed in the artcicle. I’d love you to give the article a quick read and then chime in with your two cents- what you’ve observed- using the articles comments feature.

Your thoughts?

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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4 Responses to Why Are Teenagers Really Having Less Sex?

  1. Jillian says:

    For me as a teenager I think kids my age aren’t having it on anymore with each other is cos they don’t need each other. I mean look at it, these day, having a good night means, getting drunk, getting high OR being with your boyfriend. I’m not too sure but I reckon underage drinking is on the rise (even if its not 70-80% of my class mates drink while only 40% have slept with someone) and for them, its got less consequences, they’re parents don’t seem to mind as much and its a ‘social’ thing. We’ve just moved on.
    Also I think just the fact that sleeping with someone does make your a s**t so not as many people do it; posistive peer pressure?

  2. Amanda says:

    I’m not sure if this is relevant, or if it was even included in the survey, but one thing that we have found through speaking at schools in oru city, is that highschoolers do not consider oral sex, sex. If it’s not straight up intercourse, it doesn’t count.

    • Amanda… I think that’s a big one for Christian kids. Christian kids often think, “As long as I don’t have sex, then it’s okay.” As for most of the world, oral sex is just a stepping stone to intercourse.

  3. Eldon Wright says:

    I don’t believe teenager are having less sex. As mentioned in the above comments, I am finding that many (maybe even most) teenagers do not consider any sexual activity as “sex” unless it is vaginal intercourse. Meanwhile oral sex, anal sex and other behaviours are seen as “practicing safe sex” but not REALLy sex.

    A doctor who I had speak to my students last year indicated that the number of cases in our city of young girls with throat cancer and STI’s in their throat is growing at an alarming rate due to oral sex activity, which may be one valid reason why we are seeing STI’s on the rise while what is being interpreted as “sex” is in decline.