Rampant teenage promiscuity is a myth. This may come as a blow to afternoon talk shows and conservative busy-bodies.
But there are some problematic findings when you look at the statistics: Teens aren’t having more sex than they were back in the good old days, but the teen pregnancy rate has crept up for the first time in a decade.
“There is a group of kids who engage in sexual behavior, but it’s not really significantly different than previous generations,” said Maria Kefalas, an associate professor of sociology at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and co-author of “Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage” (University of California Press, 2005). “This creeping up of teen pregnancy is not because so many more kids are having sex, but most likely because more kids aren’t using contraception.”
Hmmm, wonder why.
As for the oral sex panic (rainbow parties! “hooking up”!), yeah, the kids are doing it — but only 16% of teenagers who haven’t had intercourse say they’ve had oral sex. And a lot of them may choose oral sex because of the lower risk factor for pregnancy and STIs.
But, pssh, boring! Moral panic over teenagers doin’ it is a whole lot more fun. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.