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Many Youth Regret their First Sexual Experience

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Statistics regarding youth and their sexual behaviors frequently appear in the media, and there is a huge amount of research reported on this topic. A recent article on the topic indicates that youngsters who engage in sex might experience regret following their sexual experience.

This study analyzes data from the Philippines, El Salvador, and Peru. In these three countries, 8,495 high school students aged 14-18 completed questionnaires which asked for reasons why respondents were involved in their first sexual relationship. The students were also asked whether they regretted already having had sexual relationhips. More than one-third of respondents reported at least one external pressure leading to first sex, and about one-half reported getting carried away by sexual arousal. More females affirmed they regreted having already had sex.

The factors associated with regreto about first sex included partner insistence, “uncontrolled situations,” and other reasons, including the viewing of sexual imagery. These reasons were associated with regret even when love was also reported as related to first sex.

Adolescent sexual experience is often motivated by pressures (i.e., most friends have already had sex or because of partner insistence) and circumstances (i.e., getting carried away by sexual arousal through an “uncontrolled situation” or viewing sexual images). These pressures lower the control over decisions about sex, and may result in regret afterwards.

Parents, grandparents, caregivers, aunts, uncles, neighbors, teachers, pastors, and anyone who has great and healthy relationships with youth must seize the opportunity to talk to youth about these issues, including the sexual pressures that they may fac. These conversations must be appropriate and healthy. These conversations are probably not suited for everyone, but if you feel that they can discuss these issues appropriately and without fear, you should take the opportunity to discuss these important issues with young people.

Author

Gary L. Hopkins, MD, DrPH, MPH is currently an associate research professor at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan where he is also associate director of the Institute for Prevention of Addictions, Director of the Center for Prevention Research and Director of the Center for Media Impact Research.