Nevada among states showing teens are waiting to have sex

Updated January 4, 2018 - 6:28 pm

Fewer ninth-graders in Nevada are having sex, in line with a nationwide trend of fewer high school students engaging in sexual intercourse, according to new federal data.

A report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released Thursday says that 6 percent fewer high school students nationwide acknowledged having sex in 2015 than in 2005. In responses on an annual survey, 41 percent of students said they had previously had sexual intercourse in 2015, compared to 47 percent in 2005. Over the previous decade, between 1995 and 2005, there was no significant change.

The report uses data from 29 states, including Nevada, that participate in the national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys.

The survey, which has its limitations, asks students to self-report a number of risky behaviors, including whether they wear seatbelts in cars, whether they smoke and whether they’re engaging in sexual intercourse. The sex question is a yes or no answer and does not provide a definition of sexual intercourse.

The downward trend was largely confined to ninth- and 10th-grade students nationwide, suggesting more students are waiting longer to engage in sex. Overall the reported numbers didn’t change for older high school students.

Nevada was one of five states where sex was down among ninth-grade students only. Nine states saw a decrease among students in both ninth and 10th grades, and seven states had declines among ninth-, 10th- and 11th-grade students. In three states, sexual activity declined in all high school grades.

Five states did not exhibit downward trends.

The report does not identify a cause for the decline, but it suggests changes in technology, including the use of social media by youth, and federal resources devoted to sex education may have played a role.

Contact Meghin Delaney at 702-383-0281 or mdelaney@reviewjournal.com. Follow @MeghinDelaney on Twitter.

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