survey says!

Why Teens Sexin’ It With Dudes And Ladies Are More At Risk For STDs, Violence

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]

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  • jason

    They’re trying to demonize male bisexuality again. Not only is male bisexuality more stigmatized than female bisexuality, the male version of bisexuality is continually harassed, put down and contextualized in terms of “risk”, “danger” etc etc. No wonder there’s a greater proportion of gay and bi men committing suicide than gay or bi women.

    They’re trying to link sexual orientation to bad behaviors. My point is that sexual orientation has nothing to do with bad behaviors. Bad behavior is the result of poor choices, not your sexual orientation.

    Folks, we’re in a war. It’s as much a war against men as it is against male-male sexuality. The male-male sexual paradigm must be included in a general men’s rights battle if we are going to win it.

  • roger ramjet

    Please, this myth of male bisexuality is tiresome! Manhunt et al are littered with you supposed bi men! Oh that’s right, you’re bi ‘cuz you don’t kiss. What crap! You’re gay. Deal with it.

  • Colorado

    Not shocked by the statistics. Social stigma – which is arguably higher for bi teens, and bi male teens – leads to a lack of awareness, advise, and safety.

    However – we MUST remember that correlation isn’t cause! These issues are not caused by bisexual promiscuity.

  • jason

    Roger Ramjet,

    There are different types of sexual behavior in men but the basic orientation in most men is bisexual.

    I’d say that 9 out of 10 men are bisexually oriented.

    The reason they don’t admit it is the male-male stigma. The male-male stigma is vast, and is caused not just by the Church but also by women.

    Women are hugely responsible for a lot of homophobia, especially towards the concept of male bisexuality.

  • Sean

    A quibble: the proportion of self-identified bisexuals is comparatively low, especially among males, so this study is probably mostly about people who think of themselves as straight or gay but have had sex with both genders because they were (horny/impulsive/experimenting/other). Since bisexuals get lumped in with the too-horny-to-care group in many statistics, it’s no wonder that the stats are often unkind to us with regards to risk-taking.

    I don’t think you can use this to say anything definitive about self-labeled bisexuals (especially if they didn’t ask about self-identification). Nor does it really matter from an epidemiological perspective.

    As for the “most guys are really bisexual” thing, uh, it depends on how you define bisexual. Demanding a perfect balance between attraction to each sex is too narrow, but “if you’ve ever found anyone of each sex even slightly attractive” is probably way too broad. I don’t think that 9/10 men could have comparatively satisfying relationships with both sexes, but hey, what do I know?

  • drums

    To be fair, the study isn’t at all saying that bi teens are at risk BECAUSE they’re bi–it’s just trying to show that certain risky behaviours seem to happen more often with bisexual teens. That’s not to say that the CAUSE of risky activities is bisexuality; they’re just saying that they’ve noticed a trend that the two go together more often than statistically expected. Therefore, as concerned adults (I assume readers of a journal called “Pediatrics” are 99% concerned adults), they should address all the many causes (lack of education, social stigma, relative invisibility of bi in the “LGBT” formulation, self esteem, peer pressure, etc.) of risky teen sex.

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