Teenagers are becoming more adventurous and are moving away from ‘traditional’ intercourse, according to researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine(LSHTM) and University College London. By monitoring sexual habits, the team found the number of 16-24s moving away from traditional sexual intercourse had doubled. Access to porn online was blamed as one of the problems.
“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” Dr. Ruth Lewis, who conducted the work while at the LSHTM said.
“By shedding light on when some young people are having sex and what kinds of sex they are having, 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.”
Researchers compared today’s sexual practice with what teenagers have been doing since 1990. They found sex was changing, but the age of the teens’ first ever sexual experience has not changed much in almost 30 years.
The median age for loss of virginity among men and women born between 1990 and 1996 was 14, yet it is now 16 across for both men and women. However, it has got younger over the decades. The median age in 1950 was 20 for women and 19 for men.
“The changes in practices we see here are consistent with the widening of other aspects of young people’s sexual experience, and are perhaps not surprising given the rapidly changing social context and the ever-increasing number of influences on sexual behavior. It is important to keep up-to-date with trends in sexual lifestyles to help young people safeguard their health and increase their well-being,” Kaye Wellings, professor of Sexual and Reproductive Health at LSHTM, said. The research was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
Last year the site Pornhub, which offers free content, revealed its videos were watched 92 billion times in 2016. It also boasted 64 million daily visitors.
Plans to put age blockers on porn sites will come into force after the government announced legislation earlier this year. Those in the industry are furious, claiming it will “change the internet” and allow sites to collect more data on those using them.
It is believed the online porn sector is worth around $15 billion (£11.3 billion). It reaches more people – and younger people – every year.