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Teens and Sex part II April 20, 2006

Posted by fajita in Family Science, Sex, Teens.

Many of you responded to the first installment of "Teens and Sex" post. I wish I could tell you all with certaintly what the rank order is, but I can tell you some of the research done by Dr. Ann Meier of the University of Minnesota. She did a study called, "Adolescents' Transition To First Intercourse, Religiosoty, and Attitudes About Sex."

As a review, I asked people to rank order the following influences that deter teens from having sex:

  1. Parent's religiosity
  2. Teen's Religiosity
  3. Low opportunity for sexual contact (not dating)
  4. Teen's attitude about sex
  5. Being Female

OK, this might seem counterintuitive to some, but a teen's attitude about sex is a more powerful force than their religiosity in influencing having sex fot he first time. Before some of you get all bent out of shape and think that she means God doesn't matter, you ahve to unpack this a little.

Religiosity is seen to be influential in many teens' attitudes about having sex. So, you might say, then it is religion that prevents sex. Not so fast, buster. There are non-religious teens who have attitudes that influence them not to have. So, we cannot conclude that it is religion that accounts for it all. A religious teen with a favorable attitude toward having sex is more likely to ahve sex than a non-religious teen with a favorable attitude toward not having sex.

Now, religious teens are more likely to have an attitude about sex that influences toward abstinence, so religion is important, but attitude is more important. Religiosity does have an impact (more for females than for males), but not as much as attitude.

Conversely, when a relgious teen has sex, this study says that the teen does not lose their religion. What does change, for females (who beging with attitudes favoring abstinence more than boys) when they have sex is that their attitude about sex becomes more permissive. Boys attitudes after first sex do not change.

About opportunity: Dr. Meier's study revealed that greater the opportunity for sex the greater the chance that it will happen. Well, no kidding Sherlock, anyone could have digured that one out. However, when she defines opportunity, it includes long term dating relationships.

About parent's attitudes: When the parent's attitude about sex is expressed in policing their child's behavior's, it is not as import a factor as the parent's attitude influencing their child's own attitude. So, parent's might invest more of their energies in influencing their child's attitude and not as much on their behavior.

And one final question that popped into my head: If more teen males have sex than teen females, does that mean of the females who do have sex have more of it because there is just as much sex going on between the fewer of them?



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