Source: Herald Sun, 2 January, 1998, p.14


Regrets on
early sex

   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.


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