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Native Teen Voices:  Sexual Experiences

  • Reasons teens gave FOR
           having sex
  • Reasons teens gave for NOT
          having sex
  • Detailed information and
          graphs
  • About half of young people in the U.S. have ever had sexual intercourse by the time they are 19.  Participants in Native Teen Voices are similar:  59% of the teens reported ever having had sexual intercourse.   Of those who reported ever having had sex, the average age of the first experience for both boys and girls was between 14-16 years of age. 

    There is a difference between having ever had sex and having recent or current experience.  Among NTV participants, 70% of the sexually experienced reported having had sex in the 3 months preceding the survey.

    Among the sexually experienced youth, older males had the most lifetime sexual partners.  Half of the 16-18 year-old males reported 5 or more partners, while over half of 16-18 year-old females reported 4 or more partners.  Fifty percent of the sexually experienced males and females between the ages of 13-15 years reported 1 or 2 sexual partners.



    Reasons FOR having sex

    All youth (n=148) were asked to report reasons for having sex. 

    Youth were asked:Here are some reasons people give for having sex.  Which ones might influence you to have sex?” 

    Respondents were given a list of twelve possible reasons for having sex and were instructed to:
    “Mark ALL that are true for you.”

    Note:  the statements were created by the researchers and not by young people, so it is possible that other important reasons exist, but were not captured by this survey.

    Responses that were endorsed by at least 25% of youth:

    Females 13-15:

    Males 13-15:

    -  If I really loved my boy/girlfriend (69.1%)
    -  Because I am curious (28.6%
    -  If my boy/girlfriend wanted me to (57.9%) -  Because it feels good (52.6%)
    -  If I really loved my boy/girlfriend (42.7%)
    -  Because I am curious (26.3%)

    Females 16-18:

    Males 16-18:

    -  If I really loved my boy/girlfriend (74.2%) -  Because it feels good (41.9%)
    -  Because I am curious (38.7%)
    -  Because it feels good (70.3%)
    -  If I really loved my boy/girlfriend (62.2%)
    -  I’ve already done it, so why not? (43.2%)
    -  If my girlfriend wanted me to (35.1%)


    Responses that were endorsed by less than 25% of youth:

    Females 13-15:

    Males 13-15:

    -  Because it feels good (19.1%)
    -  Other (16.7%)
    -  I’ve already done it, so why not? (14.3%)
    -  To have a baby (14.3%)
    -  If my boy/girlfriend wanted me to (11.9%)
    -  So I won’t be a virgin anymore (9.5%) -  Because my friends are doing it (4.8%)
    -  To rebel (4.8%)
    -  To prove I’m not a kid anymore (2.4%)
    -  To fit in (0%)
    -  To prove I’m not a kid anymore (23.7%)
    -  So I won’t be a virgin anymore (21.1%)
    -  To fit in (21.1%)
    -  To have a baby (15.8%)
    -  I’ve already done it, so why not? (15.8%)
    -  To rebel (13.2%)
    -  Because my friends are doing it (7.9%)
    -  Other (7.9%)

    Females 16-18:

    Males 16-18:

    -  I’ve already done it, so why not? (19.4%) -  Other (19.4%)
    -  If my boy/girlfriend wanted me to (9.7%)
    -  So I won’t be a virgin anymore (6.5%)
    -  To fit in (6.5%)
    -  To have a baby (3.2%)
    -  To prove I’m not a kid anymore (3.2%)
    -  Because my friends are doing it (3.2%)
    -  To rebel (3.2%)
    -  Because I am curious (16.2%)
    -  To have a baby (13.5%)
    -  To fit in (8.1%) -  Other (5.4%)
    -  To prove I’m not a kid anymore (2.7%)
    -  So I won’t be a virgin anymore (2.7%)
    -  To rebel (2.7%)
    -  Because my friends are doing it (0%)
    • Among the 13-15 year-olds more than 25% of both males and females cited both love for a boy/girlfriend and curiosity as reasons to have sex
    • In the 16-18 year-old group, more than 25% of both male and female respondents cited love for a boy/girlfriend and “it feels good” as reasons to have sex
    • More than 25% of males in both age groups cited “if my boy/girlfriend wanted me to” as a reason to have sex while less than 25% females in both age groups reported this as a reason to have sex
    • Almost half (43.2%) of males aged 16-18 years chose the option “I’ve already done it, so why not?”  while less than 25% of females aged 13-15 (14.3%), females aged 16-18 (19.4%), and males aged 13-15 (15.8%) chose this option.

     


    Reasons for NOT having sex

    All youth (n=148) were asked to report reasons for NOT having sex. 

    Youth were asked, “Here are some reasons people give for NOT having sex.  Which ones might influence you to NOT have sex?” 

    Respondents were given a list of fourteen possible reasons for not having sex and were instructed to: “Mark ALL that are true for you.” 

    Note:  the statements were created by the researchers and not by young people, so it is possible that other important reasons exist, but were not captured by this survey.

    Responses that were endorsed by at least 25% of youth:

    Females 13-15:

    Males 13-15:

    -  I don’t want to get an STD (sexually
       transmitted disease) or HIV/AIDS (83.3%)
    -  I don’t want to get pregnant (78.6%)
    -  I want to wait until I am older (71.4%)
    -  I don’t want to be a mom right now (64.3%)
    -  My parents would be upset (57.1%)
    -  I am waiting for the right person (57.1%)
    -  I don’t want to get a bad reputation (54.8%)
    -  I don’t want to be taken advantage of
        (47.6%)
    -  I don’t want to have sex (30.95%)
    -  I don’t want to get an STD (sexually transmitted
       disease) or HIV/AIDS (81.6%)
    -  I want to wait until I am older (63.2%)
    -  I don’t want to be a dad right now (63.2%)
    -  I don’t want to get someone pregnant (47.4%)
    -  My parents would be upset (39.5%)
    -  I am waiting for the right person (36.8%)
    -  My boy/girlfriend doesn’t want to have sex (31.6%)
    -  Females 16-18: -  Males 16-18:
    -  I don’t want to get an STD(sexually
        transmitted disease) or HIV/AIDS (83.9%)
    -  I don’t want to be a mom right now (74.2%)
    -  I am waiting for the right person (70.97%)
    -  I don’t want to get pregnant (70.97%)
    -  I don’t want to get a bad reputation (54.9%)
    -  I want to wait until I am older (51.6%)
    -  I don’t want to have sex (35.5%)
    -  I don’t want to get an STD (sexually transmitted
        disease) or HIV/AIDS (70.3%)
    -  I don’t want to get someone pregnant (64.9%)
    -  I don’t want to be a dad right now (64.9%)
    -  I want to wait until I am older (27%)


    Responses that were endorsed by less than 25% of youth:

    Females 13-15:

    Males 13-15:

    -  I am afraid of getting caught (21.4%)
    -  My friends wouldn’t approve (14.3%)
    -  My boy/girlfriend doesn’t want to have sex
       (14.3%)
    -  Other (11.9%)
    -  It’s against my beliefs/values (4.8%)

    -  I don’t want to get a bad reputation (21.1%)
    -  I don’t want to be taken advantage of (15.8%)
    -  I am afraid of getting caught (15.8%)
    -  I don’t want to have sex (13.2%)
    -  My friends wouldn’t approve (10.5%)
    -  It’s against my beliefs/ values (7.9%)
    -  Other (0%)

    Females 16-18:

    Males 16-18:

    -  My boy/girlfriend doesn’t want to have sex
       (22.6%)
    -  I don’t want to be taken advantage of
       (22.6%)
    -  My parents would be upset (21.9%)
    -  I am afraid of getting caught (16.1%)
    -  It’s against my beliefs/values (12.9%)
    -  My friends wouldn't approve (9.7%)
    -  Other (9.7%)
    -  I am waiting for the right person (21.6%)
    -  My boy/girlfriend doesn’t want to have sex (18.9%)
    -  My parents would be upset (16.2%)
    -  I don’t want to be taken advantage of (8.1%)
    -  It’s against my beliefs/ values (5.4%)
    -  Other (5.4%)
    -  I don’t want to get a bad reputation (2.7%)
    -  I am afraid of getting caught (2.7%)
    -  I don’t want to have sex (2.7%)
    -  My friends wouldn’t approve(0%)


    Ever had sex  
    Youth were asked, “Have you ever had sex (penis in the vagina)?” 
    Four respondents did not answer this question.

    Graph: Ever had sex, by age and sex
    • 59% of the sample reported they ever had sex
    • Females were less likely than same-age males to report they ever had sex
    • Males aged 16-18 were the most likely to report that they ever had sex (84%)
    • Females aged 13-15 were the least likely to report that they ever had sex (42%)

     

    Had sex in the last 3 months 
    Youth who responded that they had ever had sex (n=88) were asked, Have you had sex in the last 3 months?” 
    Twenty-six respondents did not answer this question.

    • Graph: had sex in last 3 months?70% of those who had ever had sex reported having sex in the last 3 months
    • Males were more likely than same-age females to report sex in the last 3 months
    • Males aged 16-18 were the most likely to report sex in the last 3 months (88.5%)
    • Females aged 13-15 were the least likely to report having in the last 3 months (62.5%)

     

    Age at first sexual experience
    Youth who responded that they had ever had sex (n=88) were asked to respond to a categorical question about how old they were when they “had sex for the first time.”  Response options ranged from 11 years old or younger to 17 years old or older, with an option to report “don’t know.”  One respondent did not answer this question and three responded that they did not know.  It is important to examine this question by age group.  For example, 13-15 year-old respondents cannot report an age at first sex that is older than age 15.  Thus, 100% of the young respondents will necessarily report that age at first sex occurred before the age of 16.

    For 13-15 year-olds who reported they had ever had sex (n=35):

    • Graph: Age at first sex - 13-15For females (n=16) and males (n=19), 14 years was the most commonly reported age at first sex
    • No females reported not knowing the age at first sex while 10.5% of males reported that they did not know the age at which they first had sex

     


    For 16-18 year-olds who reported they had ever had sex (n=52):

    • Graph: Age first sex - 16-18 For females (n=21), 15 and 16 years were the most commonly reported ages at first sex
    • Nineteen percent of females reported age at first sex was older than 16 years
    • For males (n=31), 58% reported that age at first sex was 14, 15, or 16 years-old

     

    Number of sexual partners

    Those who had ever had sex (n=88) were asked to report In your lifetime, how many people have you had sex with?” 
    Three respondents did not answer this question.

    • One-third of the sample reported 3-4 lifetime partners
    • One-third of the sample reported 1-2 lifetime partners

    For females who reported they had ever had sex:

    Graph: Lifetime Sexual Partners: FemalesFemales who reported ever having sex (n=38) were asked, In your lifetime, how many people have you had sex with?” 
    Youth were given the choice of five answer choices.  Two respondents did not answer this question.

    • More than half (55%) of older females reported 4 or more lifetime partners
    • 50% of the younger females reported 1 or 2 sexual lifetime partners

    For males who reported they had ever had sex: 

    Graph: Lifetime sexual partners - maleMales who reported ever having sex (n=50) were asked, “In your lifetime, how many people have you had sex with?” 
    Youth were given the choice of five answer choices.  One respondent did not answer this question.

    • Older males reported the most lifetime sexual partners with more than 50% reporting 5 or more partners
    • More than 50% of younger males reported 1 or 2 sexual partners

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