Teenagers might not be known for their stellar decision making skills, but according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control, America’s teenagers are exercising more caution than ever when it comes to sex and contraception.
Every two years, the CDC releases a comprehensive report that monitors common health-risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among teenagers. These include drug and alcohol use, dietary behaviors and sexual activity.
While 2015’s report wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine, it did have some very encouraging news about the sexual health of America’s teenagers.
To begin with, the number of sexually active teenagers in America is at an all-time low. In fact, only about 40 percent of teens surveyed reported that they had ever had sex. Furthermore, only about 30 percent of teens reported that they were currently (within the past three months) sexually active.
But teens aren’t just having less sex. When they do choose to have sex, they’re being more careful about using birth control as well. In just four years, the number of teens who responded “yes” when asked whether they use some form of birth control increased by 15 percent! Rather than relying exclusively on condoms, teens in 2015 were also more likely to use more reliable forms of hormonal birth control. Condom use actually declined slightly from previous years, but more teens reported using long-lasting alternatives such as IUDs, pills and injections.
All this data suggests that sex education in America’s schools is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do.
Whereas abstinence-only education left teens woefully unprepared to deal with the realities of human sexuality, modern programs are demystifying sex and teaching teens how to engage in sexual activity safely and responsibly.