• http://www.scarleteen.com invalid-0

    Thing is, I have teens report to me that they are doing just what the GI is saying they aren’t.

    Not every day, mind, but often enough. Some of the discrepancy may be the age group they chose, since it seemed heavy on older teens, and didn’t include those under 15. Some of it may be that that study didn’t include asking teens at all about their motivations, so it’s one of those studies where I think we should be cautious drawing conclusions about them, period, when that information isn’t included. I’m taking this with a grain of salt for the time being, especially given that some of it stands counter to what some young people actually tell me themselves.

    But regardless, that’s hardly the only reason teens engage in either of those activities. For instance, often enough, I see young women who want to give oral sex because they don’t feel comfortable enough with their bodies to do something which requires nudity on their part.

    And above and beyond anything else, the most common reason I usually see teens reporting interest/participation in oral or anal sex is the same reason plenty of other people have an interest: they’re curious, they want to explore pleasure. Go figure.

  • invalid-0

    Karen Rayne, adolescent sexuality expert extraordinaire, analyzes the research and has some fascinating thoughts as well:

    http://karenrayne.com/2008/05/21/guttmacher-instutite-research-on-adolescent-sexuality-trends-analyzed-by-me/

    Amie Newman

    Managing Editor, RH Reality Check

  • http://www.scarleteen.com invalid-0

    Heh: seems we’re like-minded with this one. And looking again at the data, I still am pretty perplexed as to why, even small sample size aside, given how many more 18-19 year olds were represented than the younger group — a very different age group than a younger one when it comes to sex — this is being presented as somehow representative of all teens.

    I also think there’s just something off with some of the spin, here. In other words, that we have to take into account that for those who do engage in oral or anal sex because of issues of “technical” virginity, it’s not always so simple as being about what one calls oneself, but about fears around what risks young people feel — physical, emotional, moral — they’ve been told are exclusive to vaginal intercourse, and/or about how others will perceive them when it comes to what activities they have and have not done. Issues of pregnancy risk perceptions from all three activities are also an issue. And as Karen touched on in her commentary, just because for some in this study, vaginal intercourse followed shortly thereafter we can only assume so much about that, especially when we consider than for teens, their timetable when it comes to what is fast-moving and what is slow-moving often differs from adult perspectives. A progression of activities in a few months is not a timeframe that seems short to many of them, but quite long.

    Maybe the next time we do a new poll at Scarleteen, I’ll do one on this issue. We can usually get over 2,000 answers to a poll within weeks and sometimes even days, so it’d be relatively easy to put this out there in a way where they can really speak for themselves on motivations.

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