Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

The Young and The Sexless?

Gosh darnit, those crazy kids have gone and surprised us again. The latest survey shows a significant decline in teen sexual activity.


“The latest round of the quaintly named National Survey of Family Growth found that among 15-to-24-year-olds, 29 percent of females and 27 percent of males reported no sexual contact with another person ever – up from the 22 percent of both sexes when the survey was last conducted in 2002.”

Wow.  That seems like kind of a high number. To me. There are lots of other fun facts from the survey, too.  I’ll get to them another time.  Oh, I should mention a couple of things here. First off, this is all based on self-reported data. So we have to trust that these teens and young adults were all telling the truth, and not telling fibs. Because why would they lie?  FYI, I think the numbers are not entirely accurate. For example did the women include experiences of rape?  Because 1 in 4 women in college today has been the victim of rape. Just saying…

As I looked at the data, I started to wonder…  what about my readers? Were you guys early starters or late bloomers?

No, I don’t think my data will mirror that survey. I’m guessing you guys are more adventurous than the national average. And also, just as likely to fib.

So here we go:

Women Only

At what age did you first experience oral ?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

At what age did you first experience vaginal sex?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Men Only Poll

At what age did you first experience ?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

At what age did you first experience vaginal sex?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...


Tags: , , ,

20 to “The Young and The Sexless?”

  1. I would guess most people would not have included rape on this type of survey. Just now when I answered your poll I didn’t include rape either. I always go with the first time I voluntarily had sex.

    That said, the accuracy of the survey I think has a lot to do with how it was conducted. How did they pull their sample and how did they ensure anonymity? I remember taking these surveys when I was in school. I was always terrified they were actually going to do some kind of handwriting analysis to track down the bad kids.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Actually, I think it’s very individual. I think a lot of women don’t factor in consent. I know I don’t.
      As for how the survey is given, it’s described in the post I linked to in detail

      “Parts of the survey are now so explicit that even though the interviewer and subject are face to face, some questions are asked and answered using a computer screen so that the answers are completely private.”

      But I still think many people are inclined to fib on these things. It’s human nature.

  2. C. Fassett says:

    I included rape, more specifically, molestation. The first time is the first time, and will have a direct impact on all other experiences with sex thereafter, especially if done at a very young age, which I was 5 years old. Then again at 13, then again at 16, then again at 18. Which yes, most folks would rather not think about, much less discuss, or admit to. Which, by the way, is why that statistic of 1 in 4 females being sexually abused is still so high. We don’t talk about it. It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I had sex voluntarily. So I guess you could say I was a late bloomer. Just sayin’…

    • Simone Grant says:

      I’m sorry. Profoundly. And thank your for speaking out. I know it was hard for me, a couple of years ago, to decide to be honest about how I lost my virginity (on the blog, I mean). And then finally it me, we need to be honest. There are lot more of us than anyone is willing to acknowledge.

      • C. Fassett says:

        No need to be sorry, Simone, but thank you. Yes, there are way too many of us. A great healing needs to take place…and the first part of that is in first accepting what occurred, then revealing what is hurting us. When we keep it secret we are validating shame within us, instead of freeing ourselves of shame. It was a long road for me, but I am as free as I think I am capable of being. Truly, it feels great to finally have the measure of freedom that is mine. Thanks again. :)

  3. BlackIris says:

    I believe the results because:

    a) why would the kids be more likely to lie now than before and

    b) the study stupidly categorizes 15 year olds with college students (as usual). Why? They’re completely different stages of life and it just makes the whole debate confusing.

    If we’re lucky, the numbers reflect an increase in the percentage of younger people in the study.

    • Simone Grant says:

      The survey does not bulk those age groups together. If you’d clicked through you would have seen a break down by sub-group.
      As to why kids today might be more inclined to lie – um, because there are a lot more explicit messages today, in abstinence only classes, for example, that good kids wait.

      • Black Iris says:

        The breakdown by sub-group doesn’t actually compare 2002 and 2008. I’m relieved to see that most 15 and 16 year olds haven’t had sex and not surprised that the percentage of virgins is less than 20% for people in their 20s. Still, the article doesn’t show whether the change in behavior was for teenagers or college students.

        I’m not sure sex education was so different in 2002. It’s hard for me to judge because we don’t have abstinence only education where I come from.

        It’s also possible that the survey is more accurate than it used to be. Perhaps using computers allows people to tell the truth. Sometimes people don’t want to admit their virgins.

  4. NikkiB says:

    I wonder what the impact is of increasing “abstinence only” education. Doesn’t seem like a stretch to think more kids are lying if adults are refusing to talk with them openly about sex – and shaming them for having it before marriage. Also not a stretch to think some kids don’t even know for sure if they’ve had sex. Just ask the teenagers who say having anal sex is not sex.

    As for me? My mom was very open about talking and discussing sex, as well as making sure I knew who to ask for contraception. I thought I would def loose my V card in high school – no question. But. My mom also raised a self-respecting, independent woman who, after almost losing her virginity to a complete asshole, vowed she wouldn’t be so flippant again. So I waited.

  5. Gatling says:

    I actually believe this survey. The results show a change in behavior, but not such a dramatic change that the survey is suspect.

    My own experience confirms the results for what it is worth. My wife and I started dating and fooling around when she was 15 and I was 16. Although we did not go “all the way” (as we called it in those days) for a couple of years.

    By contrast, my 17 y/o daughter, who is very attractive and bright has never even been on a date. And I doubt very much whether she’s done anything sexual with anyone. We are a very open family — she is on birth control — so I think either my wife or I would know (she freely admits to have trying pot a few years ago).

    However, I don’t know if she is somehow reflective of a change in culture for kids her age. She has always been an “old soul” and is generally unimpressed with high school boys. So her reasons are, perhaps, sui generis.

    • Simone Grant says:

      It’s entirely possible that it’s accurate. I’m always suspect of self-reported surveys. Even these silly ones right here. People lie. It’s what they do. Even to themselves.

  6. I read that in the news as well. It’s a bit surprising with the proliferation of sex in the media but they key, as you pointed out, was that it was self-reported data. What were the circumstances of the survey? Take home and fill it out with mom and dad? Those figures do seem high to me, but maybe things have changed since I was included in the 15-24 age demographic.

  7. BlackIris says:

    Another possible explanation – modern middle-class teenagers have more homework and are generally more supervised in the past.

  8. I think the study is accurate. They poll a large number of people and when you average things out, or look at a bell curve, you will get a number of people who will lie one way or the other, and a number of people who will be completely honest. So the results should average out.

    You have to remember too, that this is a different generation from those of us in our 30’s. Especially the younger demographic. The teenagers are likely to have parents who are IN their 30’s or 40’s.

    I had done some reading about the differences between the generations: radio gen, baby boomers, gen X and now gen Y/or Millenials.

    I think it goes something like this:

    radio gen = very conservative
    boomers = the hippies, at least, were liberal
    gen X = liberal
    gen Y = conservative

    the thinking being, that what our parents were, we rebel against and become the opposite. So, conservative parents may result in rebellious liberal kids. Very liberal parents may result in surprisingly conservative kids :)

    • Black Iris says:

      Have you ever read Ariel Gore’s book on raising a teen? Gore was a tatooed teenaged mother who ran her own magazine and website. Her daughter became a preppy cheerleader.

  9. Black Iris says:

    The survey looks to me like it was well done is probably basically accurate. The interesting question to me is why did things change?

    Is the population in 2008 significantly different from 2002 – are the young people more likely to be children of immigrants who are often conservative on these issues? Or could there be more children with conservative parents?

    Could porn actually be keeping people from having sex?

    Does the rise of obesity and poor health have anything to do with this?

  10. Stuart says:

    I feel like this survey is very believable too, and I’m sure it has to do with a variety of factors. People are more self concious about the way they look more than every, porn is becoming more and more of an addiction, obesity is on the rise, and I think that the current economic stress may also be to blame. Everyone is always worried about money, getting to work on time and paying bills. Life is not as leisurely as it use to be, and perhaps thats why people make less time for relationships.

  11. Amy says:

    I’ve only had sex once in my life and that was 45 years ago on our wedding night. After that my husband forgot about me. Moved all his things to the basement and started working midnights, that way he wouldn’t have to deal with me. He has no computer, tv or telephone, all he does is eat, sleep and work. He isn’t into porn or gay, nor does he have anything going on the side. I really thought at first young people wanted sex and intimacy espicially guys all the time. In my world it never happened that way. I’ve been confused, hurt,depressed, unloved, unwanted and thrown aside like old trash. The only thing that’s great is his retirement and benefit plans.