LIFESTYLE

Young Teens, Adults More Open Sexually Than Previous Generations: U.K. Study

What was noteworthy is that the average age kids were having sex of any kind has remained the same: 16 years old.

22/11/2017 16:45 SAST | Updated 22/11/2017 21:03 SAST
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A study from two British universities found that 16 to 24-year-olds in 2010s have more varied sexual experiences than their same-age counterparts 20 years prior.

Young straight people nowadays are more open to varied sexual experiences and could be having spicier sex lives than their counterparts were in the past.

A joint study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University College London, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, looked at survey responses from people aged 16 to 24 in the 2010s and compared them to their same-aged counterparts both 10 and 20 years ago.

Over 45,000 Britsh participants in the United Kingdom responded to the National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles.

The study found that among young people who were sexually active in 2010 to 2012, one in four males and one in five females said they had vaginal, oral or anal sex during the past year.

But only one in ten sexually active women and men in 1990-1991 had sex of any kind in the past year.

More from HuffPost Canada:


Anal, oral sex on the rise

By the age of 18, more than one in 10 millennial teens said they'd tried anal sex. That number spiked to three in 10 by the time they were 22 or older.

The number of 16 to 18-year-olds who reported having oral and anal sex also spiked, but the study stressed that vaginal and oral are still the most common.

What was noteworthy is that the average age kids were having sex of any kind has remained the same: 16 years old.

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The study found that the average age of thier first sexual experience remained the same in each survey.

The study also found that teens in the 2000s are waiting less time to have some form of sexual intercourse after their first kiss or sexual experience.

The age that teens become sexually active doesn't vary much across developed countries like Canada, the U.K. and the U.S., according to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit that focuses on sexual and reproductive health research.

​​Watch: Americans talk about sex all the time, another study finds

Lead author Dr. Ruth Lewis from the University of Glasgow, said that understanding the findings is crucial to tweaking a school's educational curriculum to better address what students are dealing with.

"By shedding light on when some young people are having sex and what kinds of sex they are having, our study highlights the need for accurate sex and relationships education that provides opportunities to discuss consent and safety in relation to a range of sexual practices," she said in a press release.

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Studies such as this recent U.K. illustrate the need for educators to be up to date with sex trends in teens.

In Canada, the need for schools to evolve is crucial to tamping down on STIs such as gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia, which are on the rise. A 2014 report from Health Canada found teens aged 15 to 19 made up 1,081.9 cases of chlamydia per 100,000.

Global News reported that STI education is taught in Ontario schools in grade seven, B.C. schools in grade six, and Alberta schools in grade eight, with the rest of the provinces mentioning STIs in grades five or six.

Our study highlights the need for accurate sex and relationships education.Lead author Dr. Ruth Lewis, University of Glasgow

"The changes in practices we see here are consistent with the widening of other aspects of young people's sexual experience," said senior author Kaye Wellings. "(They) are perhaps not surprising given the rapidly changing social context and the ever-increasing number of influences on sexual behaviour."

The professor from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine also said that keeping up with trends was critical "to help young people safeguard their health and increase their well-being."

The internet likely broke taboos

Prof. Cynthia Graham at the University of Southampton told BBC News that the ease of finding things on the internet likely played a big role in the de-stigmatizing sexual taboos.

"Anal sex is still pretty stigmatized, but attitudes appear to be changing. We know society has become more accepting of things like same-sex behaviour overall," she said. "But there's very little research out there about anal sex and motivation."

As for gay, lesbian and trangender young people, the authors said that they couldn't include them in the analysis because there weren't enough of them reporting their own experiences.