By Eric Tooley
A moment at my sixth-grade lunch table had a profound effect on my teen sexual activity.
The guys were talking about kissing girls when I said, “I’ve never kissed a girl.” A classmate looked at me in the eyes and said, “When we get to junior high next year, you’ll never survive.”
I realized I was way behind and not normal.
Soon thereafter I started a quest for my first kiss, then my first sexual activity, and then my first sexual intercourse. My parents were silent. My church only taught me what was wrong.
I just wanted to be normal.
It was too late when I realized that I didn’t have an accurate view of what was normal. It is worse for our online teens today.
As much as we can, we must give teens accurate information about what is normal activity among teenagers. This isn’t necessarily what we believe is right or best. If normal activity isn’t right or best, we must prepare teens to be different.
However, you’ll be surprised at how often that what is right is also normal. A recent CDC study of US high school teens found that
only 41% of high school teens have ever had sex.
Twenty years ago the rate for all high school teens was 53%. This explains why many adults have a bias toward the “everyone is doing it” belief. The majority were “doing it” back in their teen years. Not anymore.
A break down of today’s teen sex rates by each grade shows that only in the 12th grade does the percentage get above 50% and then just barely:
- 9th grade – 24.1%
- 10th grade – 35.7%
- 11th grade – 49.6%
- 12th grade – 58.1%.
Teach teens what is right. Teach teens what is best. Don’t forget to also teach what is normal.
Ethier, K. A., Kann, L., & McManus, T. (2018, January 5). Sexual Intercourse Among High School Students — 29 States and United States Overall, 2005–2015. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 1393-1397.