Concerned Parents  Report is dedicated to reporting information and imparting knowledge to parents so they can empower their children to make the healthiest choice for their reproductive health - living a  chaste lifestyle

 
Summary: Older Boyfriends Lead to Earlier Sex Debut

Research shows that the age difference between adolescent females and their romantic partners is an important predictor of whether the individuals will engage in sexual intercourse.

  • A 2002 study indicates that the age difference between an adolescent female and her romantic partner may influence relationship dynamics in ways that put her at greater risk of earlier sexual debut, unintended pregnancies, and sexually transmitted infections. This study used data from AddHealth (a probability-based representative survey of U.S. adolescents who were enrolled in grades 7-12 in the 1994-1995 school year) with a total of 1,975 females surveyed. Differences in age between a female and her romantic partner ranged from less than 5 years to more than 28 years. Partners ages ranged from 8 to 44 years with nearly 10% being 20 or older and 90% in their teens. Of all respondents, 43% reported having had sexual intercourse with their romantic partner. The proportion of females reporting that they had had intercourse with their partner increased with their age and also with the age gap between themselves and their partner. The proportion of females reporting that they had had intercourse with their partner increased with age from 24% among females ages 13 or younger at the start of the relationship to 41% among those aged 14-15 and 59% among those aged 16 or older. Among 13 year olds, the odds of intercourse with a partner who was 6 years older were more than 6 times the odds of intercourse with a same-age partner. Additionally, the odds among 17 year old females with a partner 6 years their senior were about twice those among 17 year old females with a same-age partner. Females who did lot live with a mother figure were more likely than those who did to have had sex with their partner.1In a previous survey of 6th graders, students who reported ever having had a boyfriend or girlfriend at least two years older had more than 30 times the odds of having had sex than those who had never had a boyfriend or girlfriend. This 2000 survey did not specify whether sex had occurred with the older partner, and results did not differ between students with an older partner and those with a same-age partner.2 This research shows that the age difference between romantic partners is an important predictor of whether they will engage in sexual intercourse. Studying behavior within the context of relationship characteristics may yield important predictors that are amenable to intervention. Future research needs to examine the reasons that adolescent females become involved with older partners. Findings suggest that intervention among the youngest females may have the greatest impact on risk of sexual intercourse with communication between parents and their daughters having a positive influence on how females choose partners at an early age. Parents of male adolescents should be encouraged to communicate with their sons about healthy relationships and partner choices to help them develop into men who are comfortable with and, consequently, pursue age-appropriate partners. Teachers, pediatricians, gynecologists, school psychologists, nurses, and other practitioners who work with young females should be encouraged to communicate with young females about the age of their boyfriends.

1Sexual Intercourse and the Age Difference between Adolescent Females and Their Romantic Partners, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Nov/Dec 2002.

2VanOss Marin B. et al., Older Boyfriends and Girlfriends Increase Risk of Sexual Initiation in Young Adolescents, Journal of Adolescent Health, 2000.

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