Early Sexual Activity: An Introduction
The asset-building approach encourages kids to abstain from early sexual activity. In fact, kids who value restraint and believe it’s important not to be sexually active (along with not using alcohol and other drugs) are more likely to succeed.
Did You Know?
- According to Search Institute research, only 3 percent of middle and high school-aged youth with high levels of Developmental Assets indicate that they have had sexual intercourse. This contrasts sharply with the 33 percent of young people who have few assets and have had sex. Tips for encouraging abstinence >
- Even though teenagers are more likely to have sexual intercourse as they get older, having more assets keeps many from doing so. While 17 percent of high school seniors with 31 to 40 Developmental Assets say they have had sexual intercourse, 59 percent of high school seniors with 10 or fewer Developmental Assets report having sex.
- High-school girls are most at risk when it comes to early sexual activity. Sixty-nine percent of high school senior girls who have 10 assets or fewer have sexual intercourse, compared to 54 percent of guys.3
1. Bill Albert, With One Voice: A 2009 Survey of Adults and Teens on Parental Influence, Abstinence, Contraception, and the Increase in the Teen Birth Rate (Washington, D.C.: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 2009).
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2007,” Surveillance Summaries, June 6, 2008, MMWR 57, no. SS-4 (2008): 21.
3. Peter Benson and others, A Fragile Foundation: The State of Developmental Assets Among American Youth (Minneapolis: Search Institute, 1999), 78.
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Talking about sex, sexuality, and relationships can pave the way for other tough conversations … and vice versa. Visit The Office of Adolescent Health’s Conversation Generation site for tips to help you start talking to your teen about tough topics. Go there now! >