Peer Pressure and Teen Sex

Many teens, especially boys, feel pressure to have sex before they are ready. According to research released this week, some 63 percent of teens believe that waiting to have sex is a good idea, but few people actually do.

One in three boys ages 15-17 say they feel pressure to have sex, often from male friends. Teen girls feel less pressure--only 23 percent said they felt such coercion. Researchers questioned 1,854 subjects between the ages of 13 and 24 in a national survey.

The study, released by the Kaiser Family Foundation, also found that teens feel strong pressure to drink and try drugs. The study findings show a need for sex education at a young age, say the study authors.

A separate study released this week, sponsored by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, finds that one in five teens reported having sex before they were 15. One in seven sexually active 14-year-olds also said they have been pregnant.

Still, other research is not as pessimistic about teen sexuality. Studies have found that teens were less sexually active during the 1990s compared with decades before. The overall rate of sexual activity declined by 5.7 percent, and the number of pregnancies, abortions and sexually transmitted diseases also fell in the last decade.

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