The Guardian (London) (12.16.11) - Wednesday, December 21,
Results from the Health Survey for England indicate a greater
proportion of young women report having been sexually active
before age 16 than in any previous generation.
Among respondents ages 16-24, approximately 27 percent of
females said they had had sex before reaching 16, while 22
percent of males said they were under 16 at first sex. For
both males and female, the median age of sexual debut was 17.
Twenty-six percent of females and 32 percent of males said
they had not yet had sex.
One in five sexually active 16- to 24-year-olds, 27 percent of
males and 13 percent of females, reported having had 10 or
more sex partners. Seventeen percent of females and 24 percent
of males reported only having had one partner.
"Society has changed dramatically in the last 50 years, and
the nature of relationships has too," said Rebecca Findlay,
spokesperson for the sexual health charity FPA. "Education and
information safeguard the sexual health needs of young people
and help them resist having sex before they're ready, which is
why, given this data, there's an overwhelming need for
statutory sex and relationship education in schools."
While the results tend to mirror those of other research on
the issue, "we must remember that most young people under 16
aren't sexually active," said Findlay.