Most Americans had premarital sex
[ 2006-12-20 14:49 ]
Most Americans have
More than nine out of 10 Americans, men and women
alike, have had premarital
sex, according to a new study. The high rates extend even
to women born in the 1940s, challenging perceptions that people were more
chaste in the past.
"This is reality-check research," said the
study's author, Lawrence Finer. "Premarital sex is normal behavior for the
vast majority of Americans, and has been for decades."
The study, released Tuesday, appears in the new issue of Public Health
The study, examining how sexual behavior before marriage has changed
over time, was based on interviews conducted with more than 38,000 people.
According to Finer's analysis, 99 percent of the respondents had had sex
by age 44, and 95 percent had done so before marriage.
The study found women virtually as likely as men to engage in
premarital sex, even those born decades ago. Among women born between 1950
and 1978, at least 91 percent had had premarital sex by age 30, while
among those born in the 1940s, 88 percent had done so by age 44.
"The data clearly show that the majority of older teens and adults have
already had sex before marriage, which calls into question the federal
government's funding of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs for 12- to
29-year-olds," Finer said.
Under the Bush administration, such programs have received hundreds of
millions of dollars in federal funding.
"It would be more effective," Finer said, "to provide young people with
the skills and information they need to be safe once they become sexually