It’s apparently safer to be a straight or gay teen than a bisexual one in New York City, according to new research published in the journal Pediatrics. Because going both ways makes you more prone to engage in “risky” and sometimes violent sexual encounters.
The Youth Risk Behavior Survey, distributed every two years, grabbed some 17,220 responses of high schoolers, of which 7,261 reported having intercourse.
Among the sexually active males, 93.1 percent said they had had sexual contact only with female partners, 3.2 percent said they’d had contact only with other males, and 3.7 percent said they’d had both male and female partners. Among the sexually active females, 88.1 percent said they’d had sex only with males, 3.2 percent said they’d had only female partners and 8.7 percent said they’d had partners of both sexes. Of all the sexually active teens, 9.3 percent reported at least one same-sex partner.
And while some 38.9 percent of teens who had a same-sex encounter reported they were straight (worth noting: about 1 in 10 teens said they had a same-sex experience), it’s that cross-over group that’s most at risk, which follows national trends.
Of the girls with both male and female partners, 35.8 percent said they had experienced dating violence in the previous year. Of the boys with both male and female partners, 34.8 percent reported it in the previous year. Far lower percentages of teens with only male or only female partners answered yes to the question about dating violence. Of the males who reported both male and female partners, just 44.1 percent said they’d used a condom during their last sexual encounter. The percentages for condom use during their last sex were 79.8 for males with only female partners and 62.3 for males with only same-sex partners.
Apparently this is totally normal!
It’s troubling, though not surprising, that the youths who reported encounters with both sexes also had higher rates of risky behavior and violence, said Dr. Susan Blank, assistant commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “It has been shown in the literature that students who have both male and female partners have a lot of adverse health problems,” she said.
So what are health officials to do? Target sex education to teens not based on what sexual orientation they identify with, but with what behavior they’re exhibiting. Theoretically this strips away any stigma teens might have about identifying as gay or bi and zeroes in simply on the activity they’re engaged in, whether they identify as non-hetero or not. [AP]