Statistics on Teen Sex Trends

Statistics on Teen Sex Trends:

  •  In a recent national study, which defined “having sex” as including vaginal, anal, or oral sex, researchers found that the median age of sexual initiation to be 16 years for both males and females. By age 19, 75% of youth have had vaginal, anal, and/or oral sex [1].


  • Among young people aged 15-19, 45% have had oral sex with a different-sex partner [2].


  • Sexual initiation prior to the age of 16 generally is less likely to be consensual, and less likely to involve contraception, than sexual initiation at later ages. It is also a risk factor for teen pregnancy. Having vaginal intercourse at an early age is associated with having a greater number of sexual partners and having concurrent partners [3].


  • Sexually experienced youth aged 14-19 are quite likely to report having had at least three sexual partners – just under half of females (45%) and just over half of males (55%) have had three or more partners. Among high school students, 10% of males and 7% of girls report having four or more sexual partners in their lifetime [4].


[1]    Liu, G., Hariri, S., Bradley, H., Gottlieb, S. L., Leichliter, J. S., & Markowitz, L. E. (2015). Trends and patterns of sexual behaviors among adolescents and adults aged 14 to 59 years, United States. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 42(1), 20-26.


[2]    Guttmacher Institute. (2019, September). Adolescent sexual and reproductive health in the United States [Fact sheet].


[3]    Heywood, W., Patrick, K., Smith, A. M. A., & Pitts, M. K. (2015). Associations between early first sexual intercourse and later sexual and reproductive outcomes: A systematic review of population-based data. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 44, 531-569. doi:10.1007/s10508-014-0374-3


[4]    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, August 21). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance – United States, 2019. MMWR Supplement, 69(1). For another way to access YRBS data, including state and regional results, see the interactive database Youth Online at: