Here are some stats to strike fear in a parent’s heart: A new study reports that not only are a whole lot of teens having sex, some of them aren’t even waiting until they become teenagers to do it. The study, from University of Texas’ Health Sciences Center at Houston, reported that almost 1/4 of Texas pre-teens are having sex before they reach 8th grade. And a terrifying 10 PERCENT of them are having intercourse in 6th grade. That’s 12-years-old (or 11 for the younger kids who don’t get redshirted). That’s about 3 kids per average-size Texas public school classroom.
And the numbers don’t get any less scary as the kids get older. See the stats after the jump.
Number of students who report having “ever had sex” :
6th grade: 10%
7th grade: 22%
8th grade: 29%
9th grade: 32 %
12th grade: 62%
Kids voluntarily participated in the survey, which required parental consent. Results were self-reported via computer. The term “ever had sex” was implicitly understood to mean vaginal intercourse and was distinguished from other sexual activity that was not factored into this study.
This is not the first time that Texas has demonstrated a higher-than-average rate of teen sexual activity. They have, per Jezebel, been “disproportionately represented” in teen pregnancy rates for years. The concern now is that rates are going up in Texas, while they’re not going up elsewhere.
In California, for example, a state with a similarly high population and historically high pregnancy levels, teen pregnancy rates have actually gone down in recent years. Why the discrepancy? The obvious difference between California and Texas: vastly different policies on sex education and healthcare. While California has been moving toward more comprehensive sex education, Texas practices abstinence-only education. This study is not exactly a vote of confidence for its effectiveness.