Source: Herald Sun, 2 January, 1998, p.14
By HELEN CARTER, medical reporter MOST women believe they should have waited longer before having sex, a survey has found. The New Zealand survey of first sexual intercourse found that on average women were aged 16 at first intercourse and men were 17. While 54 per cent of women thought that they should have waited longer before having sex, only 16 per cent of men felt the same way. Women commonly reported being forced at first intercourse, especially those who did it before 14. Being curious about what it would be like was the most common reason given by both sexes for first intercourse. But 10 per cent of both sexes said they were drunk at the time. The study found nearly one-third of females, or 28 per cent, who experienced intercourse under 16, had a sexually transmitted disease. Co-author Dr Nigel Dickson said the risk of early and unwanted pregnancies was also borne by women. He concluded most women regretted having sex before 16. He said first intercourse at younger ages was associated with risks that were shared unequally between men and women. Dr Dickson said that in many developed countries there had been a substantial lowering of the age of first sexual intercourse over the past 30 years. Dr Dickson is a senior researcher from the University of Otago Medical School's department of preventive and social medicine. The study is reported in the latest edition of the British Medical Journal. Melbourne psychologist Associate Professor Michael Carr- Gregg said the study would probably parallel Australia's situation. He said Victorian studies showed one-third of students were sexually active by the time they reached Year 11, average age 16. Slightly more were boys, 38 per cent, than there were girls, 35 per cent. Prof. Carr-Gregg said education was encouraging safer sex and urging youths towards "outercourse" - anything but intercourse. Prof. Carr-Gregg is from the Centre for Adolescent Health at Royal Children's Hospital.
Where to next?
Student Questions for this article
Teacher Discussion of this article
Index - Related articles
Index - Data Reduction
Main Index - Numeracy in the News