Most U.S. teens not sexually active, says landmark study

A landmark study reveals that the majority of U.S. teens are not sexually active and that they are making this decision, based on their values, faith, parents and concern for their health and future. The study also highlights the important role of parents in their teen’s decision-making on this issue.

The results of the study, which was commissioned by NBC News and People Magazine, were released yeterday. It surveyed young teens about their intimate sexual attitudes and practices.

According to the report,  the vast majority (87 percent) of teens, aged 13 to 16, have not had sexual intercourse. Most (73 percent) have not been sexually intimate at all. Seventy-four percent say they have not had sex because they made a conscious decision not to.

The study is revealing about the role of religion as well. Four in 10 (42 percent) say they have not had sex because of religious or moral beliefs.

Seventy-five percent of those surveyed have not because they believe they are too young. Many say they abstain because they fear the potential consequences of pregnancy (74 percent), STDs (71 percent), parents’reaction (65 percent).

With regard to parents’ reactions, the study indicates that teens with a Catholic parent (72 percent) are more likely to not have sex because they are worried what their parents will think than those with a Protestant parent (63 percent) or another religious background (57 percent).

“This is a wake-up call to parents that they cannot stick their heads in the sand when it comes to their teens’ attitudes and behaviors about sex,” said Rick Schatz, president and CEO of the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families.

He strongly recommends that parents speak openly and honestly with their kids about this subject.

Slightly over half of the teens surveyed said they haven’t had sex because they haven’t met the right person yet (54 percent); 21 percent said it is because of a lack of opportunity.

For the full report, go to:

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