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Is there a right time for a first sexual experience?
Despite the controversy surrounding first-time sex, most young people in the United States become sexually active long before they reach adulthood. According to a 2012 research study, look at participants in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, sexual debut (first sexual experience) is classified as "early" if it occurs before the age of 15, "normative" if it occurs between 15 and 19 years of age, and "late" if it occurs after the age of 19.
But does the age at which this sexual debut occurs make a difference in terms of later problems? Considering how important the first sexual experience can be in establishing normal sexual relations and romantic pairings, it's essential that potential risks such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease be recognized. Research has consistently shown that adolescents having a sexual debut before the age of 15 are less likely to use contraception than those in the normative or late debut groups. They are also more likely to have a history of substance abuse and, especially for females, are more likely to suffer from depression.
To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.
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