Dr. Stan Weed, the founder of the Institute for Research and Evaluation, is a leading researcher of Sexual Risk Avoidance education programs in the U.S. and internationally.
Excellence & Ethics: What are the key predictors of a teenager’s decision to delay sexual involvement?
Stan Weed: Based on our surveys of tens of thousands of middle school and high school students, we find at least six important predictors:
- Having the belief that abstaining from sex outside of marriage has important benefits.
- Believing that you have positive opportunities in your future and that having sex could negatively affect those opportunities.
- Not justifying sex as being okay “if you are in love,” or “safe” as long as you use a condom, or as “a way to show you care for someone.”
- The ability to resist peer pressure which goes against your beliefs.
- Personal efficacy — how confident you are that you can do what is necessary to delay sexual involvement.
- Having the intention to abstain from sex.
What are Predictors of Sexual Activity?
Through more than twenty years of reviewing surveys of more than 650,000 students across the USA, Central America and Russia, Dr. Stan Weed of the Institute for Research and Evaluation has identified statistically significant predictors of whether a young person is likely to abstain or initiate sex.
A teen who has the above attitudes and intentions is less likely to initiate early sexual activity!
- According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 out of 4 American women is the victim of rape (attempted or completed) during her lifetime. Most rapes are not reported.
- Dating violence is 5 times more likely in teen relationships that involve sex. Young women 16-24 experience the highest rates of violence at the hands of someone they know.
- Three out of 10 teenage girls get pregnant at least once. About a third get abortions. 20% of teen couples using condoms as birth control become pregnant after one year.
- About 50% of sexually active youth get an STD by age 25. About 80% of people who have an STD don’t know it.
- You can get an STD such as herpes or HPV even if you use a condom because such infections are transmitted by skin-to-skin contact.
- Oral sex can spread herpes and other STDs to the face, mouth, and throat. Herpes can be transmitted to a baby during birth, causing brain damage or even death.
- Pediatrics (87) reported that the attempted suicide rate for sexually experienced girls (12 to 16) is 6 times higher than for virgins.
- 12- to 17-year-olds are among the largest consumers of online pornography.
- 58% of girls and 53% of boys ages 15 to 17 have never participated in any form of sex (oral, anal, or vaginal).
- 67% of teen girls and 53% of boys who have had sex say they wished they had waited.
The percent of black high school students who have “ever had sexual intercourse” fell from 82% percent in 1991 to 60% in 2011.
- Abstinent youth get better grades in school and are less likely to drop out. Teen sex raises the likelihood of other risk-taking such as drug and alcohol abuse and crime.
- More than 40% of children are now born to unwed mothers (vs. 6% in 1960). Children of unmarried mothers are more likely to grow up in poverty, have social-emotional problems, drop out of school, engage in teen sex, and have a child outside of marriage.
- Children living with their mother and her boyfriend are 11 times more likely to be sexually, physically, or emotional abused than those living with married, biological parents.
- Couples who do not cohabit before marriage experience lower rates of marital conflict, infidelity, and divorce.
- Adults who delay sex until marriage report the highest levels of sexual satisfaction