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Australia: Teenagers Want Sex -- But a Third Get Unwanted Sex

August 5, 2009

In a national survey of Australian high school students, one-third said they have experienced unwanted sex, often due to being pressured or being drunk.

The prevalence of reports of unwanted sex suggests that sex education classes should emphasize how underage drinking can result in poor sexual decision making, said Professor Anthony Smith, the study's chief researcher.

Even so, Smith said that 90 percent of sexually active students reported their most recent sex was consensual. "For the most part, young people are having sex because they want to and they are enjoying it. They are also using condoms and contraception to reduce the risk of [STDs] and pregnancy," he said.

The Australian Research Center for Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University conducted the fourth National Survey of Secondary Students and Sexual Health. The survey polled 2,926 students in public and private schools last year in all states and territories. For the past two decades, a version of the study has been conducted about every five years. Among the latest findings:

  • Sexual intercourse was reported by one-quarter of 10th-graders and more than half of 12th-graders.
  • Oral sex was reported by one-third of 10th-graders and nearly 60 percent of 12th-graders.
  • While adolescent girls have become more sexually active, rates for boys have remained stable or declined slightly since 2002.
  • Eighty-eight percent of the high school students had sought out sexual information from adults and peers. Key sources of information included their mother (56 percent), female friends (55 percent), and school programs (49 percent).
  • Reports of condom and contraceptive use were generally high among sexually active students.

Back to other news for August 2009

Adapted from:
The Age (Melbourne)
08.04.2009; Farah Farouque

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More on HIV/AIDS in Australia & the Pacific


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