Globe Editorial

Sex: What kids can teach their parents

October 11, 2010

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Maybe it’s time for teens to sit their dating parents down for a little talk about safe sex. According to the biggest survey on sexual practices in the United States since 1994, teens are far more likely to use condoms than adults 40 or older who are engaging in casual sex. This is just one of the revelations in the study by Indiana University’s Center for Sexual Health Promotion, which collected data from 5,865 people aged 14 to 94.

Seventy-nine percent of boys 14 to 17 years old reported using condoms in their most recent liaison, a much higher rate than for men in older age groups. Clearly, older couples face less risk of an unintended pregnancy, but all age groups are vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases.

All told, just one in three acts of intercourse between single men and women are condom-protected, making the extensive condom use by teen couples stand out. The message of safe sex is getting through to kids better than to their elders. Is it time for a workshop on sex education at PTO parents’ nights?

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