A study into adolescent sexual habits has revealed that females are more likely to have an unprotected first sexual encounter than their male counterparts.
Nicole Weller, an Arizona State University graduate student, attempted to find answers to questions like: Are adolescents more likely to have unprotected sex or protected sex? Are adolescents who know the risk of sexually transmitted diseases more likely to use contraception?
"This in particular was an interesting finding because males usually report that they are having more sex than females," she said.
"In general, the younger that you are when you have sex, the more at risk you are of contracting a sexually transmitted disease," Weller said.
Analysis of data from the National Survey of Family Growth that has been conducted since 1973, showed that young people are waiting longer than in the past to have a first sexual encounter, but the age at which people contract a sexually transmitted disease is decreasing.
"Fifteen to 19-year-olds have the most sexually transmitted diseases," Weller said.
She also found that African American males and females are more likely to have unprotected sex than their peers.
Further research that Weller will conduct on the subject includes looking at the different types of contraception use since some methods prevent pregnancy; others prevent sexually transmitted diseases; and some such as condoms can prevent both.
Another focus of her studies is if the type of relationship has an influence on the type of contraception used, whether it is a serious boyfriend-girlfriend relationship or a random hook-up.
"Young people probably are not thinking about having children later. When you are young, you're not necessarily thinking of those future consequences."