teenage pregnancyVery little is known about the connection between initiation of sexual behavior in the teen population and resulting teen pregnancy rates. Researchers from various institutions, including the Department of Health Policy and Management and Carolina Population Center, both at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill recently published a study on the subject in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Participants in the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health were given a questionnaire on sexual experiences and teen pregnancy. In all, more than 6,000 responses were noted. All participants claimed first sexual initiation prior to age 20.
Type of sexual initiation was important to the rate of teen pregnancy. Of teens who reported first initiation as vaginal intercourse, about 31% experienced teen pregnancy. Teens who initiated more than one sexual experience at one age and those who experienced oral sexual initiation first, pregnancy rates were lowest.

Conclusion: The type of sexual initiation plays an important part in teen pregnancy risk. Educators and doctors need to take this information into consideration when planning preventative programs and interventions with an aim to prevent teen pregnancy.

Source: Reese BM, Haydon AA, Herring AH, Halpern CT. The Association Between Sequences of Sexual Initiation and the Likelihood of Teenage Pregnancy. J Adolesc Health. 2013 Feb;52(2):228-233. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.06.005.