Belfast Telegraph (06.12.12)
Aids Weekly Plus
More than one-quarter of teens in Northern Ireland have had sex by age 16, according to new research. The survey, which was carried out on behalf of Queen’s University and the University of Ulster, polled 1,434 teenagers. Among the youths: 26 percent said they had had sex, with 46 percent of these reporting sex at age 16, 31 percent at age 15, and 22 percent at younger ages. Thirty percent said the sex was spontaneous; 29 percent said the encounter was planned. While 62 percent felt the sex occurred at the right time, 34 percent said it happened too early. Among the main reasons for first sex were curiosity (54 percent) and feeling that it was natural in the progression of the relationship (46 percent). Females were much more likely to say they had sex because they were in love. About three teens in 10 were still in a relationship with their first partner. Among the 16-year-olds surveyed, 42 percent identified school as their best source of sex education, and many said they would prefer more lessons on the topic.