The percentage of high schoolers who say they’ve had sex has been dropping for 20 years, and now stands under 50 percent.
The number who describe their first sexual activity as “unwanted” has dropped by a third in less than a decade, and now stands at well under 10 percent.
Almost two-thirds of sexually active teens say their first sexual intercourse was with a steady romantic partner, and more than 80 percent say they used contraceptives the first time.
More than two-thirds say they used a condom the first time they had sex—a dramatic advance from the late ’80s height of the AIDS crisis, when only half did.
According to data from a long list of eminently reputable government and scholarly sources, we’re living through a golden age of responsible teen sexuality.
Here are just a few representative examples from the literature: The average age at first intercourse in the United States is currently 17 years old, with only 16 percent of teens having sex before they turn 15.
What’s more, some of the most dramatic changes have been seen among Black youth, whose sexuality is the most stigmatized and demonized.
Young people are having sex younger than before, they’ll tell you, and they’re doing it cavalierly and irresponsibly.
Middle-schoolers are having oral sex parties, and high schoolers have abandoned dating relationships for an endless stream of friends-with-benefits hookups with disastrous results.