We may be moving towards a sex-crazed world. But teenage girls these days beg to differ. There has been a significant decline in sexual intercourse among Canadian teenagers especially girls as against the teenage generation a decade ago. A recent report suggests more teenagers, particularly girls are saying no to sex.
Author of the study, Michelle Rotermann of Statistics Canada, asserted, “Individuals who are in longer-term relationships perceived their risks to be lower. As such, 18 and 19-year-olds are likely to perceive their risks to be lower, so they’re less likely to use a condom than their younger counterparts. The study did not look at motivations behind the different behaviours, so it’s not clear why there are differences between young men and women.”
Dr. Andre Lalonde, executive vice-president of The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada further commented, “The difference could stem from women bearing a larger degree of risk in having intercourse, and that there is a wider awareness among young women about the risks.”
Lalonde mentioned, “The obvious risk that we always think about is pregnancy, but that’s only one small risk of unprotected intercourse. They bear the burden of the risk if they have a sexually transmitted disease. In a man, it’s treatable. In a woman, although we say it’s treatable, it can leave consequences, such as infertility.”
The findings have been revealed in the data released by Statistics Canada. The agency used two comparative surveys for the study. Though surprising, the report shows that 43 % teenagers between 15 to 19 years reported indulging in sexual intercourse at least once in 2005, compared to 47 % in 1996-97. The study indicated a further reduction in the proportion of sexually active teens before the age of 15. The figures lowered from 12 % in 1996-1997 to 8 % in 2005.
Additionally it found that the decline was mainly due to improving sexual habits among younger women. Their proportion of having sex decreased from 51 % to 43 %, while young men having intercourse stayed at 43%. The researchers revealed that the figures infer changing sexual patterns among young women
Young women also showed trends of safe sex practice. While boys using condoms stayed consistent at nearly 80 per cent, teenage girls relatively increased the use of condoms from 65 percent in 1996-1997 to 70 per cent in 2005. As against 18 and 19 year olds in 2005, teens aged 15 to 17 were found to use condoms more frequently. Use of condoms, however tends to decrease with age and is less common among users of oral contraceptives. Researchers also found a correlation between condom use and the duration of an individual’s relationship.
The findings will have an eminent role in public health development. This is mainly because teenagers who are engaged early in sexual activity have increased or longer term risk of exposure to sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy.
Furthermore, the study associates an early age of first intercourse to risky behaviours such as unprotected sex, drinking alcohol and smoking.