Young people have sex: shock, horror

by Stephen Tall on August 14, 2006

The results of this year’s BBC Radio 1 sex survey are here. It’s been reported – with tedious predictability – by the Daily Telegraph here:

Casual sex is rife among young Britons, who are putting their health at risk by not using condoms with new partners, a new survey has said today. The survey, BareAll06, found that nearly a third of 16 to 24 year olds lost their virginity before the age of consent and that, of those, 38 per cent do not always use a condom with a new partner.

Let’s assume that all those surveyed told the truth – because, after all, what possible reason could anyone have to lie about their bedroom action, or lack of it? – and take a fresh look at the results, as they weren’t reported today:

  • 70% of 16-24 year-olds waited until they were over 16 before they had sex for the first time;
  • 82% of 16-24 year-olds have had fewer than 10 sexual partners;
  • 43% of 16-24 year-olds have never had a one-night stand;
  • 62% of 16-24 year-olds always use a condom with a new partner;
  • Two-thirds of 16-24 year-olds didn’t have a drink before their first sexual experience;
  • Nine in 10 16-24 year-olds have had sex education at school;
  • Three-quarters of 16-24 year-olds used contraception when they first had sex;
  • 53% of men kept their virginity until they were over 17.

Looked at like this, the findings are perhaps a little less shocking – but, then, where are the headlines in that?

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