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What percent of 16 year olds are virgins?

70% of high school students are virgins, study reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–They may live in a sexually charged culture that essentially encourages them to have sex, but nearly 70 percent of high school-age teens are virgins, according to a new study of the nation’s sexual habits.

Published in the October issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, the study surveyed 820 adolescents nationwide via the Internet, a confidential method the researchers say is more likely to produce honest answers compared to a face-to-face or phone interview. Parents had to give consent.

The study found that 69.7 percent of boys and 68.4 percent of girls ages 16-17 have never had intercourse. Among 14-15-year-olds, the percentage is even higher — 90.1 percent for boys and 87.6 percent for girls.

Richard Ross, cofounder of the True Love Waits abstinence movement, told Baptist Press the study proves that abstinence messages can and do work.

“Less than a third of high schoolers have ever had sex. And that includes large numbers who only have had sex once,” said Ross, professor of student ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. “Also, consider that more than 60 percent of sexually experienced teenagers regret what they have done [according to data from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy]. Combining those figures reveals that only a small segment of American teenagers are committed to a sexual lifestyle.

“The vast majority are entirely open to waiting on sex,” Ross said. “Whether they do or not depends on which voices and influences around them are the strongest.”

Among 16-17-year-olds, 16.1 percent of boys and 20.8 percent of girls had had intercourse in the previous month.

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The study also asked teens about oral sex. Depending on the question asked, between 66 and 71 percent of 16-17-year-old boys and girls had never participated. For 14-15-year-olds, it was around 87 percent for both sexes who had never participated.

Jimmy Hester, co-founder of the True Love Waits movement and the coordinator of True Love Waits for LifeWay Church Resources, said the study confirms what he has seen.

“Our experiences with True Love Waits over the past 17 years have shown a willingness on the part of students to consider and adopt God’s plan for sexual behavior outside the marriage relationship,” Hester told BP. “Once they understand the reasons behind sexual abstinence until marriage, and recognize the severe consequences when not practiced, most are willing to commit to it. The results of these types of reliable studies indicate trends toward better sexual behavior among students.”

Ross said the data should impact what programs the federal government promotes. It should also encourage churches, he said.

“Congress and the administration cut all abstinence-centered program grants from the 2010 budget,” Ross said. “As a citizen, that deeply concerns me and I will support candidates this fall that will take us in another direction.

“But as a youth leader, I see this as an opportunity for parents and churches to step into the gap. It is time for every pastor and every parent to ask, ‘How long has it been since we saw precious teenagers standing in the altar of our church, making promises of purity to Almighty God, surrounded by the community of faith?”‘

Ross added, “I am more concerned about churches that have moved away from a clear True Love Waits challenge every year than I am about funding shifts in Washington. For the children of believers, the clear voices of parents, youth leaders and the congregation carry far more weight than secular programs.”
Michael Foust is an assistant editor of Baptist Press.

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What Percentage Of Teens Are Having Sex In High School?

Parents have a tendency to overestimate how much sex teenagers are having, but the reality is concerning for different reasons.

Updated: July 8, 2022
Originally Published: May 16, 2018

The legs of two teens hanging off a bed.

Maryna Terletska/Getty

Parents have always worried about teens having sex in high school, but this concern has inflated since the rise of risqué comedies in the 1980s and 1990s, which glamorized the loss of virginity and high school sex. Movies like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and American Pie still scare the living daylights out of prudish parents today. Newer movies, such as Blockers, have only made matters worse. But concerns about teens having sex for the first time are not necessarily backed by the data. And not every adolescent is in a pact to lose their v-card before college. In fact, the average age of losing your virginity in the U.S. is higher than you may think, and high school sex is probably less common than you fear.

The reality is that only about half of teens have sex for the first time before high school graduation, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That figure hasn’t changed for more than a decade. And although the CDC data may quell some concerns, it raises new ones for parents as well. For example, despite having equal rates of consensual sex, LGBTQ teenagers are nearly twice as at risk of sexual assault.

It’s important for parents to treat sex and everything surrounding it, including consent, protection, and self-respect, as a regular discussion, not a one-time talk. Here’s what moms and dads need to know about the data on high school sex and their teens.

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Roughly 40% of Teens Don’t Have High School Sex

The percent of virgins in high school has remained fairly consistent since 2005, CDC data suggests. Only about one in four 9th-graders report that they have ever had sex. That figure climbs steadily throughout high school, culminating in the 12th grade when about 60% claim to have had sex. If nothing else, this data debunks the myth that high schoolers are all sexually active — nearly half are still virgins by graduation! It’s important for parents to convey this information to their children to help combat the pressure they may feel to have sex before they are emotionally ready.

LGB Teens Are Having About as Much High School Sex as Everyone Else

The CDC only started keeping tabs on the sex lives of gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens in 2015, so data showing how this demographic’s sexual activity rates have changed over the past 10 years are not available. But we do have the next best thing: a side-by-side comparison of the percentage of heterosexual and homosexual teens who report having had sex at least once. Although studies have shown that LGBTQ teens are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior, the CDC data suggest that queer high schoolers aren’t having significantly more sex.

Yet Queer Teens Are at Double the Risk of Sexual Assault

It’s telling that despite roughly equal rates of consensual sex, lesbian, gay, and bisexual teens are at significantly higher risk of sexual assault — defined here as the percent of high school students who report being forced to have sex at least once. The data highlights the importance of educators and psychologists devising specific interventions for sexual minority teens.

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The Average of Losing Virginity in the U.S.

The average age that women and girls in the U.S. first have vaginal penetrative sex is about 17 years old, according to the CDC. For men and boys in the U.S., the average age of losing their virginity is also 17 years old. The age at which individuals have sex for the first time is at least partially genetic, according to a large new study.

The Myth of Teens Having High School Sex (And Lots of It)

The idea of the increasingly sexually active high-schooler is, it seems, more fiction than fact. Some 40% of high schoolers forgo sex completely during high school, a number that has stayed this way for more than a decade. This changes only incrementally when you look at LGBTQ teens.

Curious about your kid’s case? The best way to find out is to talk to them about it.

The amount of men under 30 not having sex has nearly tripled in the past decade

The amount of men under 30 not having sex has nearly tripled in the past decade

The number of 18 to 29-year-olds reporting no sex in the past year more than doubled in the last decade.

The share of men under 30 in the USA who aren’t having sex has nearly tripled between 2008 and 2018, according to data published in the Washington Post.


In 2008, roughly 10 percent of men under the age of 20 reported having no sex in the previous 12 months, slightly more than the number of women.

In the last 10 years that number has hit 28 percent for men under 30 — a rise of close to triple — while for women under 30 that rise was less than 10 percent.

Stunning chart: the share of men under 30 who aren’t having sex has nearly tripled in the past decade

— Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) March 29, 2019


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The data comes from the data from the General Social Survey, a sociological survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago which has been running since 1972.

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It also suggested that the number of young men who report being virgins has tripled since 2008 — reporter Christopher Ingrams does however point out that this may not be completely accurate since the way the data was reported, they could have had sex prior to turn 18, or only slept with other men.

Final datapoint: the share of young men reporting no female sex partners since they turned 18 — a rough a proxy for virginity — more than tripled since 2008. I say rough proxy bc 1) some had sex in their teens and 2) some exclusively have male partners.

— Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) March 29, 2019

A report from January showed a similar decline in the amount of sex American high school students are having. It found that just 41 percent of student in grades nine to twelve had had sexual intercourse — compared to 47 percent in 2005, and 53 in 1995.


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