Why Teens Are Having Way Less Sex Than 20 Years Ago

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Why Teens Are Having Way Less Sex Than 20 Years Ago

In case you think everything stays the same fom generations past, the CDC has come out with a new study that says that American teenagers are having less sex than before.

Wrap your brain around that one. 

Researchers surveyed approximately 2000 boys and girls, ages 15 to 19, and about 1,770 young adults ages 20 to 24, about their high school encounters.

According to the study, less than half of teens older than 14 said they've had intercourse, a sharp drop from rates in the 1980s. 

The majority of those who are sexually active are using some form of protection.

The share of teen girls who reported they've had sex at least once dropped from 51 percent in 1988 to 44 percent in 2013.

Abstinence was more pronounced among males: 60 percent of teen boys in 1988 said they'd had sex, compared to 47 percent in 2013.

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Could it be that because of the internet, today's youth is better educated when it comes to sex, pregnancy and the risks involved in being sexually active?

"They're looking on the Web," said Brooke Bokor, an adolescent medicine specialist at the Children's National Health System. "They're looking for guidance from parents, guardians, and physicians. They can and will make positive decisions for their own health, both sexual and otherwise."

Another possibility for the sexual slowdown is the growing popularity of the HPV vaccine, which is now widely offered to boys and girls as young as 11.

The shots, of course, come with an educational conversation.

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"They learn from doctors that you can catch HPV even if you use a condom. They might think: How else can I stay healthy?" said Bokor, emphasizing some common conditions spread through skin-to-skin contact.

Teenagers being better educated about their health and sex is good news, indeed.

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Christine Schoenwald is a love and entertainment writer. 

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on July 30, 2015 and was updated with the latest information.