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More Teens Delaying Sexual Activity

A new report by the Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood, has found that more teens are now choosing to delay sexual activity.

The Heritage Foundation is reporting that Guttmacher's most recent report found that less than six percent of all teens have had sex by their 15th birthday - a substantial drop from the 13 percent figure reported just last year.

"The median age for first sexual intercourse is approaching 18 years of age for those born in 1991. The median age for those born in 1978 was 17 years of age," Heritage reports. "The rise in the median age of first sexual activity mirrors the fact that half of all high school students are currently abstinent."

This is good news, especially for teen girls because women are more vulnerable than men to the negative outcomes associated with early sexual activity.

"There are statistically significant differences between women who begin sexual activity at age 13 or 14 and those who begin at age 20 or 21. Those who delay sexual activity avoid being among the almost 750,000 (7 percent) U.S. women ages 15–19 who become pregnant every year. Those teen girls who begin sexual activity at age 14 are more likely to give birth outside marriage and become single parents," Heritage reports.

Delaying sexual activity also cuts down on the number of women seeking abortions. Studies have found that nearly 30 percent of women who became sexually active by the age of 13-14 have had an abortion, compared to only 12 percent of women who waited until their early 20's.

"The positive effects of teens delaying sexual activity carry even into their later relationships. Women are twice as likely as likely to be in stable marriages in their 30s when they postpone their first sexual activity."

Studies show that teens who spend time with their parents and who discuss the consequences of sexual activity are less likely to have sex. Educators also play a role in delaying a teen's sexual debut through sexual risk avoidance programs that have been shown to positively influence a teen's decision to delay sex.

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