Here's How The Teens Are Actually Doing


Sex is out, vaping is in.

A new report from the CDC is here to tell us that teens are doing OK. Probably better than you expected tbh.

A new report from the CDC is here to tell us that teens are doing OK. Probably better than you expected tbh.

They just released the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, which surveys high schoolers in the U.S. about everything from sex and contraception to mental health and drug use.

More than 15,000 youths took this year's survey, and the results are pretty surprising.

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So, here’s a look at what the teens are actually up to these days, which will either make you feel very relieved or very old. Or both.

So, here's a look at what the teens are actually up to these days, which will either make you feel very relieved or very old. Or both.

FYI: The data comes from 37 state surveys and 19 large urban school district surveys, conducted on 9th-12th graders between September 2014-December 2015. While it's considered a nationally representative sample of high school students, it's obviously not an all-encompassing look at every teenager in the country (and it doesn't include those who were homeschooled or not enrolled in school).

ABC / Via giphy.com

Teens are actually having less sex.

Teens are actually having less sex.

In the most recent report, just about 41%* of teens reported ever having sex, down significantly from almost 47% in 2013. And just 30% reported being currently sexually active (meaning they had sex in the last three months), down from 34% in 2013. So basically teen movies are lying to us and everybody isn't having sex all the time in high school.

It's worth nothing here that the surveys just asked students about “sexual intercourse,” so who knows if teens counted activities like oral sex, anal sex, or manual stimulation when answering. This may have been particularly exclusionary for LGBTQI students.

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They’re also having sex later, and having sex with fewer people.

They're also having sex later, and having sex with fewer people.

Less than 4% of students reported having sex for the first time before age 13, which is down significantly from 10% back in 1991. And just 12% of teens reported sleeping with four or more people (compared to 15% of teens reporting this in 2013). Both of these had significant disparities in terms of gender (higher among male than female students) and race/ethnicity (higher among black students than Hispanic and white students).

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