Saturday, July 19, 2008

Government Stats on Teen Sexual Behavior

This summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System(YRBSS). The YRBSS, surveys high school students and tracks different health risk behaviors, including sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancies and STDs. The YRBSS surveyed more than 14,000 students from across the country. The results for sexual behavior included the following:

· 47.8% of students reported ever having had sexual intercourse (46.8% in 2005)

· 7.1% of students reported having had sex before age 13 (6.2% in 2005)

· 14.9% of students reported having had sex with four or more sexual partners (14.3% in 2005)

· 35.0% of students reported being currently sexually active, defined as having had
sexual intercourse in the three months prior to the survey (33.9% in 2005)

· 61.5% of sexually active students reported that either they or their partner had
used a condom during last sex (62.8% in 2005)

· 89.5 % of students reported having been taught about AIDS or HIV in school (87.9% in 2005)

Since the last YRBSS, conducted two years ago, little positive change has been made relating to teen sexual behavior. Hopefully, this is not the beginning of a trend that can likely be linked to abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. If only Washington would wake up and read the research that it's the comprehensive approach that's proven to work.

Sex in America: A 20/20 Must See

Last night, 20/20 was devoted to Sex in America addressing attitudes on laws related to sexuality. We all know our society is saturated with messages and images about sexuality, but state and government efforts--not to mention money--are being wasted on controlling sexuality in the bedroom and society. If this much effort was put towards sexuality education--we would be more sexually healthy as a whole. This excellent program is sure to awake the advocate in you to speak out to local, state, and national policymakers.

Here's the 20/20 description about this must see episode:

Sex today is everywhere, from television and movies to the internet to images in ads and even store windows. It's more in your face than ever before. But how big a problem is this? Or is it a problem at all? John Stossel examines sex in America: from attitudes towards sex in this country, to the laws our government makes about where we can have it, whom we can have it with and when we must be protected from seeing it.

Sex Culture: Parents cringe watching television with their kids, says Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council, a group disturbed by all the sex that's in the public square. With so many programs pushing the sexual envelope, Sprigg says he can barely find anything appropriate to watch with his young son. Stossel says he cringes too, but asks, ''What's the real effect? Where is the damage? Sex is more prevalent than ever, yet rape rates, divorce rates and the percentage of teens having pre-marital sex have been declining over recent years. So isn't this good news?'' Dr. Marty Klein argues that some in America wage a ''war on sex.''

Policing Sex: Police staked out a nearly empty park to arrest a man who, when a topless woman asked him to show her his private parts, complied. In Laredo, Texas, police arrested the Chippendale Dancers. In Alabama, legislators have banned the sale of sex toys. The punishment for buying a toy can be arrest and a fine up to $10,000 dollars, which is five times that for drunken driving.

Polygamy: Peter Sprigg says, ''Slavery and polygamy were the twin relics of barbarism... barbaric societies that we've tried to move beyond.'' But polygamy advocate Mark Henkel says the law is hypocritical. ''Someone like a Hugh Hefner will have a successful television show with three live-in girlfriends. And that's all okay, and he's making great money, and that's all fine and great entertainment, but if that man was to marry them, then suddenly he's a criminal! That's insane!''

Predator Laws: In order to protect children from sexual predators, states have passed laws to try to keep molesters far away. But as Stossel reports, as so often happens with many laws, there are unintended consequences, as the predator laws cast a wide net. Take Frank Rodriguez, whose consensual sexual relationship with his high school sweetheart when he was 19 and she was 15 led to his being branded for life as a sex offender - even though the two ended up marrying and having four children.

Why We Cheat: America may be waging a war on sex, but that doesn't stop anyone from doing it. Infidelity is all over the news. Even America's most desirable women like Jennifer Anniston, Halle Berry and Christie Brinkley are reported to have been cheated on. Why? Are men programmed to wander? Steve Santagati, an advice columnist and self proclaimed ''bad boy,'' says men are. Scientists confirm his assumption that men are programmed to cheat, and that even animals once thought to be monogamous are cheating. But Dr. Scott Haltzman, who wrote The Secrets of Happily Married Men, points out that couples can be faithful, and when they are, they are happier.