Education Report Roundup

Trends in Young People’s Sexual Behavior Examined

By Jessica L. Tonn — October 14, 2005 1 min read

Young people between the ages of 12 and 27, especially young women, are engaging in sexual activity at an earlier age, and their attitudes toward sex are becoming more liberal, a report concludes.

“Changes in Young People’s Sexual Behavior and Attitudes, 1943-1999: A Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis” is available for purchase from the American Psychological Association.

Between 1943 and 1999, the average age of first intercourse among young women dropped from 19 to 15, and the number of sexually active girls increased from 13 to 47 percent. Approval of premarital sex also increased during that time period, from 12 to 73 percent among young women, and from 40 to 79 percent among young men.

The report, which appears in the September 2005 issue of the Review of General Psychology, is based on the analysis of data from 530 studies, which included more than 250,000 young people over the course of five decades.