The Relative Timing of Sexual Behaviors among Youth in the United States

Karin Brewster, Florida State University
Giuseppina Valle, Florida State University
Kathryn H. Tillman, Florida State University

This paper uses retrospective data from the 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth to describe patterns of initial sexual engagement among women and men aged 15 to 24. We estimate gender-specific risks of experiencing first coitus while still an oral virgin, engaging in first oral sex while still a coital virgin, and experiencing first coitus and first oral sex on the same occasion, relative to remaining a coital and oral virgin. Results for young women show that these risks differ by abstinence pledge status, parental communication about sex, and formal sex education, net of race/ethnicity, nativity status, parents’ educational attainment, religious service attendance, age, and age at menarche. Results for young men are similar in nature but less striking: coefficients for pledge status, sex education, and parental communication obtain significance less consistently. We find no evidence that the observed associations for women or men are conditioned by respondent’s race/ethnicity.

  See paper

Presented in Session 201: Adolescent Sexual Behavior, Risk-Taking and Health