LONDON — Are we experiencing another sexual revolution? A new study finds that teens and young adults are experimenting more in bed than previous generations.
Researchers at three institutions based in the United Kingdom — the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, University College London, and NatCen Social Research — analyzed the findings from their most recent survey of adolescent sexual behavior, which sought the input of well over 10,000 heterosexual participants.
While respondents said that they still engaged in vaginal and oral sex most frequently, there was a dramatic increase in 16- to 24-year-olds who indicated that they had tried anal sex recently.
In the early 90s, only one-in-ten of men and women within this demographic had tried all three forms of intercourse — vaginal, oral, and anal — in the preceding year.
By 2010, this figure had increased to a quarter of young men and a fifth of young women.
This most recent survey revealed that non-vaginal forms of sex had increased in a particularly noticeable fashion among those under the age of 18.
“At a time when much sex and relationships education is being updated, keeping pace with current trends in sexual practices is crucial, so that curricula are tailored to the realities of young people’s experiences,” argues Dr. Ruth Lewis, the study’s lead author, in a news release.
“Our study highlights the need for accurate sex and relationships education that provides opportunities to discuss consent and safety in relation to a range of sexual practices,” she continues. “This will equip young people with the information and skills they need to maximize their well-being from the outset of their sexual lives.”
Kaye Wellings, the study’s senior author, believes that these findings are reflective of other trends, such as “the rapidly changing social context and the ever-increasing number of influences on sexual behaviour.”
It is the responsibility of instructors, health officials, and medical professionals “to keep up-to-date with trends,” she says.
The researchers’ analysis also revealed that the average age of a teen having their first kiss (14) and losing their virginity (16) had not changed much at all over the past two decades.
While it is worth noting that these findings rely on self-reported answers, their insights still warrant further examination.
Lewis et al. published their findings in the Dec. 2017 edition of the Journal of Adolescent Health.