Finally! Teenage girls are practicing more safe sex -and waiting longer to have it!
Moms, you can breathe a sigh of relief! Contrary to what every adolescent movie, CW television show, and birth control/sex education protester would have you believe, teenage girls are actually waiting longer to have sex, according to a newly released survey.
Conducted by the CDC, the study asked 2,300 teenage girls between the ages of 15 and 19 and found that 57 percent had never had sex, compared to 49 percent in 1995. And the good news doesn't end there! The survey also found that the 60 percent that did have sex were using the best and most effective kinds of contraception, like the pill, patch, contraceptive shot, etc. (Condoms were deemed only moderately effective). Again, this is significantly higher than in the '90's when less than half were using sufficient types of birth control.
The trend could suggest a growing awareness of pregnancy risk among teens –and health officials also say it could explain why there's been a consistent decline in the U.S. teen birth rate since 1990 and why it's at an all-time low today.
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While I'm thrilled to hear this news, I can't help but feel a hint of smugness. I mean, could it be that teenage girls are actually, you know, learning accurate information and applying it to their sex lives? And finding birth control useful? I know, groundbreaking!
If only I could give Rush Limbaugh and every other abstinence-only, anti-contraceptive person with medieval beliefs a big, fat "I told you so!" I hope they are biting their tongues now...but somehow I doubt it.
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In any case, this is really great news for both parents and teens. It shows that despite what many think, adolescents don't always allow themselves to be influenced by what they might see or hear on TV and media. In fact, perhaps seeing certain programs (like Teen Mom and similar shows) has even helped them become more aware.
Whatever the reason is, I'm glad that teens are becoming increasingly educated about the importance of safe sex and using the knowledge to make intelligent, adult decisions to protect themselves.
What do you think of the survey?
Image via Personal Kaleidoscope/flickr