December 16, 2004


Teens delaying sexual activity (Cheryl Wetzstein, 12/11/04, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

The report uses data from the long-awaited 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), a periodic national survey that provides bedrock data on American family life, marriage, divorce, adoption, cohabitation, family planning, fatherhood, infertility, pregnancy and birth.

The NCHS report showed that more teens are delaying sex until they are older.

The declines were especially dramatic among boys: Among males ages 15 to 17, the portion who never had sexual intercourse rose from 57 percent in 1995 to 69 percent in 2002.

The first sexual experience still typically occurs in the teen years; however, the portion of males who maintained their virginity at age 19 rose from 25 percent in 1995 to 36 percent in 2002.

Among girls ages 15 to 17, the number of virgins rose from 62 percent in 1995 to 70 percent in 2002. However, as the girls aged, about the same portion became sexually experienced — less than a third were still virgins by age 19 in both surveys.

The most common reason for delaying sex was because it was "against [their] religion or moral values" — 37.8 percent of girls and 31.4 percent of boys chose this answer. The 2002 survey also found that 13 percent of girls and almost 11 percent of boys had pledged to remain virgins until marriage.

It's not possible to overstate how much different we are than even the most similar Western nations in terms of our enduring moral/religious values.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 16, 2004 2:12 PM

Mr. Judd;

What strikes me about this is the figure for 19 year olds. Note that 36% of the boys are still virgins, but less than 33% of the girls. So more boys are holding out than girls in that age category?

Also note that for girls its 70% at 15-17. 2 to 4 years later (at 19) it's dropped to under 33%.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at December 16, 2004 3:49 PM


Yes, once the girls start drinking at college their maidenheads are toast.

Posted by: oj at December 16, 2004 5:51 PM

I'm sorry but did you even read the Guardian article you linked to:

"Britain's record on sexual health came under scrutiny this weekend after a report by the United Nations Children's Fund revealed that the UK has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the developed world, second only to the United States."

Yay, thanks again to our enduring moral and religious values we're Number One!

Posted by: frameone at December 16, 2004 9:01 PM

I clicked on your link to the article about how bad things were in England. I was surprised to read this statement in the article-- "the UK has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the developed world, second only to the United States."

So your conclusion that we are better off than the rest of the world means that teenage pregnancy is good?

Posted by: David E... at December 16, 2004 9:02 PM


Ethnic groups:

English 81.5%, Scottish 9.6%, Irish 2.4%, Welsh 1.9%, Ulster 1.8%, West Indian, Indian, Pakistani, and other 2.8%

Posted by: oj at December 16, 2004 9:37 PM

It is indeed possible to overstate how different we are. In fact we are only a decade or two behind them.

Of course nothing is inevitable in history, unless you are a worshipper of History.

Posted by: Paul Cella at December 16, 2004 10:30 PM

We were a decade or two behind in 1979, now we're a century behind.

Posted by: oj at December 16, 2004 10:49 PM

City on the hill. Man, you conservatives are the biggest bunch of know-nothings I've ever seen:

I'm always amazed at how you always believe the opposite of what's really true.

Posted by: Josh Yelon at December 17, 2004 12:52 AM

This is the graph I meant to post. It's the per-capita version of the one above:

Posted by: Josh Yelon at December 17, 2004 12:59 AM

Do the teen pregnancy numbers include or exclude married teens?

Posted by: Robert Duquette at December 17, 2004 5:08 AM

Mr. Yelon:

How would the developed world's only racially mixed nation and only one with population growth not have the highest fertility numbers?

Posted by: oj at December 17, 2004 8:27 AM

Mr. Yelon:

The general topic of fertility rates, mothers' age at birth and out-of-wedlock births is fascinating, and one that conservatives are happy to discuss, but teen birth rates are not a particularly useful metric, as well more than half of teen births are to women aged 18 or 19.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 17, 2004 10:56 AM

It also happens that the US teen pregnancy rate is the lowest it has ever been.

This rate was calculated as the sum of abortions and deliveries over the size of the population.

I wish I could remember the reference; it was a news item about 3 months ago.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at December 17, 2004 11:44 AM

Interesting that 4 of the 6 years surveyed Clinton was in the White House. Perhaps the Dems did something right?

Posted by: Kbowe at December 17, 2004 3:07 PM

Absolutely. They practiced triangulation and governed like Republicans.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 17, 2004 4:20 PM


6 of the 8 Clinton years were Republican.

Posted by: oj at December 17, 2004 10:08 PM