Patterns of sexual experience among an urban sample of Latino and African-American 9th grade students
Purpose: Oral, vaginal and anal sex are discrete behaviors that pose varying degrees of STD and/or pregnancy risk. Considering these behaviors separately has resulted in a splintered picture of adolescents' sexual risk. It is important to understand the co-occurrence of these behaviors to better inform prevention efforts. We sought to identify patterns of sexual experience among 9th grade students, the order in which behaviors were initiated, and to explore associated factors. Methods: 371 students from 10 public high schools in Southern California who reported any sexual experience on an in-class survey comprised the sample. Measures included demographics, sexual behaviors, and attitude, belief and knowledge scales. Results: Experience with vaginal sex and oral sex were most common (77.4% and 67.9%, respectively) while fewer (22.1%) reported anal sex. Forty percent (40.0%) reported both oral and vaginal sex; 24.9% reported only vaginal, 15.3% reported all three, and 12.6% reported only oral sex. Males were more likely than females to be in the group reporting all three behaviors. Of those who engaged in both oral and vaginal sex, 44.5% engaged in vaginal first, 30.8% engaged in oral first, and 24.6% reported they happened on the same day. Few correlations between behavioral patterns and other factors were observed. Conclusions: In this sample, vaginal sex tended to occur first, and was reported by the greatest percentage of students. Oral and anal sex tended to co-occur with, but did not necessarily replace, vaginal sex. Dichotomous measures of sexual behaviors are insufficient to fully characterize adolescent sexual risk.
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Describe the patterns of sexual experience and order of initiation.
Assess the implications of STD and/or pregnancy risk for the different behavioral groups or patterns of initiation.
Analyze measurable differences in students within the different behavioral groups or patterns of initiation.
Keyword(s): Adolescent Health, Sexual Behavior
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the primary statistician on the grant where the data was obtained from. I have previous publications and presentations focusing on adolescent sexual health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.