Here's some encouraging and surprising news for those of us who learned everything we know about the current state of teen sexuality from 16 & Pregnant: More teens are using condoms than ever before. While the show frequently features young men who expend all their mental energy on figuring out how to hurt their baby's mother with just a series of grunts, new statistics show that in real life, teens are actually pretty responsible.
In a survey of 2,284 teen girls and 2,378 teen boys between the ages of 15 and 19, the CDC found that eight out of 10 boys used a condom when they lost their virginity. According to Reuters, that's an increase of 9 percentage points since data was last collected in 2002. During the same time the use of other methods like withdrawal and sterilization among teen boys fell.
As for the girls, a small but growing number are using hormonal birth control methods other than the pill. In 2002 only 2% were using injectables and contraceptive patches when they first had sex, but in 2010 that number was up to 6%. More teens are also using two methods of birth control. 16% of teenage guys said they were using condoms even though their parter is on hormonal birth control, up from 10% in 2002.
Despite these changes, for the most part the statistics on teens and sex haven't changed much in the past few years. As in 2002, about 43% of teen girls and 42% of teen boys are sexually active. Of that group, 78% of the girls and 85% of the boys used contraception the first time they had sex. The authors of the study have no idea why more boys are using condoms, but they did note that this is "consistent with other trends they've seen in recent years, including a decline in teen pregnancies." It's possible that girls have just started demanding that their partners use protection, but maybe more boys are starting to see teen pregnancy as something that affects them too.
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