Many Teens Regret Having Sex
New poll also shows parents more
than friends or the media
For Immediate Release
June 30, 2000
Contact: Bill Albert, Director of Communications, (202) 478-8510
(Washington, D.C.) Nearly two-thirds of teens who have
had sexual intercourse wish they had waited, according to a poll released
today by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. And when it comes
to their decisions about sex, teens say parents matter more than they might
Although teens in the nationally representative poll said
that parents have the most influence regarding their sexual decision-making,
more teens say they have gotten information or advice about sex in the past
month from the media than any other source.
The results of the poll were released today in Washington
by members of the National Campaign's Youth Leadership Team, a diverse group
of 29 teenagers from across the country. Among the poll's findings:
- Regret. Sixty-three percent
of teens surveyed who have had sexual intercourse wish they had waited
longer. More than one-half of teen boys (55 percent) and the overwhelming
majority of teen girls surveyed (72 percent) said they wish they had
waited longer to have sex.
- Parents influential. When
asked who influenced their decisions about sex the most, more teens cited
their parents than any other influence (37 percent). In comparison, 30
percent of teens said that friends influenced their sexual decision-making
the most. An equal percentage (11 percent) of teens identified the media
and their religious communities as the most influential.
- Role of media. Sixty-one
percent of teens surveyed said the media has provided them with
information or advice about sex in the past month, 57 percent said their
friends have, and 55 percent said their parents.
- Delay sex. Nearly eight of
ten teens surveyed (78 percent) agreed that teens should not be sexually
active. However, the majority of teens surveyed (54 percent) said that
those teens who are sexually active should have access to birth control.
- Sibling advice. Sixty-four
percent of teens would tell a younger brother, sister, or friend not to
have sex until they are at least out of high school, but, if they were to
have sex, to protect themselves against pregnancy and STDs.
- Grading sex education. When
asked to grade their school sex or abstinence education courses, 59
percent of teens gave them either an "A" or "B."
"This poll is just the latest evidence that many
teens are taking a more cautious attitude toward having sex," said
Sally Sachar, Deputy Director of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen
Pregnancy. "It also makes clear that parents can and must play
an active and continuing role in helping their children understand that sex
Also released today by the Campaign's Youth Leadership
Team is the fact sheet, What
Teens Want, a short collection of advice for parents, friends,
siblings, the media, schools, and faith communities. Both the poll Not
Just Another Thing To Do: Teens Talk About Sex, Regret, and the Influence of
Their Parents and What Teens Want are available in their
entirety on the Campaign's webpage at www.teenpregnancy.org/today.htm.
For a full copy of the survey, please visit the National
Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy's website at www.teenpregnancy.org/teenwant.pdf.
About the National Campaign Prevent Teen Pregnancy
Founded in 1996, the National Campaign is a nonprofit,
nonpartisan organization with a goal to reduce the teen pregnancy rate by
one-third between 1996 and 2005. For more information about the survey,
please contact Bill Albert (202-478-8510) or visit the Campaign's website at
About the Poll
The findings from the poll come from an omnibus telephone
survey of 501 teens aged 12 to 17 conducted by International Communications
Research of Media, Pennsylvania, on behalf of the National Campaign to
Prevent Teen Pregnancy. The polling took place June 7 - 11, 2000. Poll
answers are weighted to provide nationally representative and projectable
estimates of the population 12-17 years old. The responses have a margin of
error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.