Among the findings of a sweeping federal government survey of American sexual behavior is one that may surprise those bewailing a permissive and eros-soaked popular culture: More than one-quarter of people interviewed in their late teens and early 20s had never had sex.
And the number was growing.
The latest round of the quaintly named National Survey of Family Growth found that among 15-to-24-year-olds, 29 percent of females and 27 percent of males reported no sexual contact with another person ever – up from the 22 percent of both sexes when the survey was last conducted in 2002.
“The public’s general perception is that when it comes to young people and sex, the news is bad and likely to get worse,” said Bill Albert, chief program officer of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, an advocacy organization in Washington.
The seventh and latest round of the survey, first done in 1973, provides a corrective to that view.
Update: In a statement coming out later this morning, Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Foundation says the report
comes on the heels of another recently released report by HHS that showed the majority of teens support premarital abstinence in general and for themselves. NAEA calls on Congress to reinstate abstinence education as a community-based approach in the FY 2012 budget. “The data is clearly siding in favor of a renewed priority on the risk avoidance abstinence education approach… and it just happens also to be the healthiest option for teens.”
The full report can be read here.