Sexual Behaviour Amongst Teens

Sex is a biological factor needed to be able to produce and evolve the human race, whereas psychologically sex should be intimately shared with your partner. (Stoller, 1968 as cited in APA PsycNet).

In the last few years’ teenage pregnancy rates in the USA and UK have risen. The highest increase of pregnancy amongst teenagers is in the USA and UK (table 1figure 1).

Darroch, Singh, Frost and Team (2001)

These findings could be as a result of social attitudes of teenagers wanting to fit in with a particular crowd, partaking in risky behaviour. (Odgers et al.1996; Snow and Bruce 2003 as cited in Morrison, V., Bennett, P.). Snow and Bruce found that teenage mothers often show a history of dysfunctional relationships and social and financial strains, also having low self esteem issues.

With the government funding cuts and councils forced to close their community facilities as a result; forty seven Children Centres in the UK are due for closure by 2013. (Cheshire West and Chester Council, 2010) There is already very little for children growing up to do within their communities and are limited to finding their own entertainment, and are easily influenced into consume alcohol and other drugs.

This could be a reason why children are becoming sexually active at a younger age, and are risking their ambitions and health by becoming pregnant and catching sexually transmitted infections as the results of these risky behaviours. (Hingson et al. 2003 as cited in Morrison, V., Bennett, P).

Other factors for the increase in pregnancy rates amongst teens could be the stigma of using contraception. The retail market is continually reinventing solutions to the design and shape of condoms so that they are easily used, more attractive and are as accessible as possible.

Table 2 & Figures 2 shows the results of contraceptive with the same five countries. Although there is no real significance to the USA and UK figures, it does however confirm the attitudes amongst teenagers in lack of condom use.

Darroch, Singh, Frost and Team (2001)

Young people today should be more equipped with the responsibility of motherhood, and should understand that having children at a young and immature age could create potential health risks to themselves and their baby. Behaviours in terms of poor diet, smoking and binge drinking whilst carrying their unborn child; compared with older mothers is increased. An additional risk of premature births and miscarriages caused as a result of the physical immaturity of the mother. i.e. their bodies still undeveloped. (Department of Health 2003; Hogan and Kenny 2007 as cited in Morrison, V., Bennett, P)

The UK home office has taken steps into tacking this problem by reintroducing the licencing act, (Home Office, 2003) which focused on fining and closing down retailers who were selling alcohol to under-age customers. The message the government want to show is their commitment to ensure children are protected against the harms or alcohol (Home office, 2003 as cited in Rebalancing the licencing act, 2003).


Brokenshire, J. (2003). Responses to consultation: Rebalancing the licensing act. (pp 25). UK. Home Office.

Darroch, Singh, Frost and Team (2001). Differences in Teenage Pregnancy Rates Amongst Five developed Countries: The Roles of Sexual Activity and Contraceptive Use.  E-journal of Familiy Planning Perspectives. Page 244. Retrieved from http://www.

Morrison, V., Bennett, P. (2009). Smoking, drinking and teenage pregnancy. An introduction into Health Psychology. UK: Pearsons education limited.

Stoller, R.J, (1968). Sex and Gender. [abstract].  American Psychological Association. Oxford, England: Science House. (1968). xvi, 383 pp. Abstract received from http://


2 thoughts on “Sexual Behaviour Amongst Teens

  1. According to McKay & Barrett (2010), the United States have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the developed world— twice as more as in Canada (27.9 per 1,000 women aged 15–19 in 2006) or in Sweden (31.4 per 1,000). Looking up sexual health information on the internet is the highest among young people in America. Scholars, however, question the quality of the web sites providing such information (Buhi et al., 2010). In the afore-mentioned research 34 participants were asked to perform online searches for answers to 12 sexual health scenarios among 177 sexual health web sites. The results showed that 46,2% of the web sites had at least 1 inaccuracy concerning contraception use and 35% were inaccurate providing information about abortion. It is assumed that the majority of teenage pregnancies are unintended and such trends reflect the incapacity to control their sexual and reproductive health (McKay & Barrett, 2010). However, regarding the lack of information available, it is not surprising that adolescents know little or nothing about sexual health.


    Buhi, E. R., Daley, E. M., Oberne, A., Smith, S. A., Schneider, T., & Fuhrmann, H. J. (2010). Quality and accuracy of sexual health information web sites visited by young people. Journal of Adolescent Health, 47(2), 206-208. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.01.002

    McKay, A., & Barrett, M. (2010). Trends in teen pregnancy rates from 1996-2006: a comparison of Canada, Sweden, U.S.A., and England/Wales. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 19. Retrived from

  2. I would disagree with your comment that there is a lack of information around the subject of sex. Granted there is still a lot more which could be done to show the affects of irresponsible sexual behaviour, but with information being more readily available in recent years, this pattern does not suggest there is a decline; in fact it is of an increase.

    The figures could suggest that having this extra information could be influencing younger people. The U.S has noticed this increase and has funded programs teaching teenagers about pregnancy and sexual transmitted infections, and what the risks involve. The figures from the data they used suggested that the sex education was ineffective to the rise in pregnancy rates and may actually be contributing to it. (Stranger-hall & Hall, 2011)

    Further research into teenage pregnancy rates in California took samples of females aged between 15-17 to predict the effected of race and ethnicity, martial status, education, employment, income and poverty, and housing on birthrates among young teenagers. The study found that the proportion of families living below the poverty level were highly related to the birthrate among teens. (Kirby, Coyle & Gould, 2001)


    Kirby, D., Coyle, K. & Gould, J.B. (2001). Manifestations of poverty and birthrates among
    young teenagers in California zip code areas. [Abstract]. FAMILY PLANNING PERSPECTIVES. 33. Page 63-69

    Stranger-hall, K.F. & Hall, D.W. (2011). Abstinence-Only Education and Teen Pregnancy Rates: Why We Need Comprehensive Sex Education in the U.S. [Abstract]. University of Georgia Research Foundation, 6, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024658

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