Michael Cera and Portia Doubleday

According to the results of a recently released study from the Center for Disease Control, virginity rates are skyrocketing. Nearly a third of people under the age of twenty-four say they've had no sexual contact, a percentage that's much higher in 2010 than it was in 2002. 

The study was conducted by the CDC to plan for STD and HIV treatment, since over half of STD infections occur in kids between the ages of fifteen and twenty four. But the study also has interesting implications about how we see sexuality — teenage and otherwise — in this country. Is this a sign that abstinence-only education, the lack of teenage sex in high-school movies, and an overall cultural shift have really kept kids from having sex? If so, is that a good thing? The survey doesn't give any direct data that suggest that teen pregnancy or STD-transmission have similarly decreased, but last I heard, they haven't. 

There's also some evidence that sex — in the age of abstinence-only education — may have become so stigmatized that people flat out lie about it: more than ten percent of teenagers with STDs claim they've never had sexual contact at all

Commentarium (27 Comments)

Mar 03 11 - 3:20pm

This headline is seriously fucked up.... "30% of people under 24 has never had sex"? That means assuming there are just as many 0-12 year olds as 12-24 year olds that at least 20% of people under the age of 12 have had sex.

Mar 03 11 - 3:34pm
D. Warner

In a survey like this one, you think they asked anyone 0-12?

Mar 03 11 - 3:54pm

If you click the link, it says ages 15-24 were surveyed and that they have never had any sexual contact that includes oral and intercourse.

Everything else, as far as i can tell, is up in the air

Mar 03 11 - 4:17pm

I don't think there's a logical flaw there. If I said "95% of kids under the age of 6 can walk," I'd be primarily talking about 2-6 year olds, since very few 6 months old can. That doesn't make it a misleading statement.

Mar 03 11 - 6:08pm

The headline requires that the reader make assumptions as to the sample size and demographics. So it is misleading because you "assume" everyone will make the same assumption with the same misleading headline. Accuracy is not a sin.

Mar 04 11 - 3:06pm

Strongly agree with Anon/??. Ben: The title was an f-up, but not as bad as defending it is.

Mar 03 11 - 3:29pm

You also have to take into account what individuals do and don't count. (There are people who really think they haven't "had sex" unless it was heterosexual penetrative vaginal unprotected sex while sober and not on drugs.)

Mar 03 11 - 5:15pm

It specifically says oral and vaginal intercourse in the study. In terms of the second study mentioned, concerning STDs, yes, definitions of sex certainly come into play.

Mar 03 11 - 4:18pm

I wonder how much busting their asses at school has to do with the elevated numbers; everyone's stressed out and on anxiety meds.

Mar 03 11 - 4:29pm

I blame the Recession. More parents are out of work, so they're home when their kids get out of school, making it harder to arrange time to "study."

Jan 11 12 - 10:16am

It could also be all those 21-24 y-o's who haven't been able to get jobs, thus are still living with their parents.

Mar 03 11 - 9:19pm

I haven't seen a lot of teen movies lately, but if theres not a lot of sex in them, there certainly is on tv. Really, in my experience talking to people, the ones who waited longer to have sex (late high school to college age) are generally the more sex positive, knowledgeable, and comfortable that I know. Probably because they actually take the time to know themselves and what they are doing before they have sex and have higher standards in a partner (and because these people are generally smart, they don't get much ass in high school) So I'd like to think that this is a sign of kids being more informed and positive about their bodies. But since all other evidence is to the contrary, it probably is those abstinence only jerks.

Mar 03 11 - 9:45pm

Speaking for myself as a late-bloomer who happened to lose it an 24, these days there's a tremendous amount of pressure to be seen as "experienced" or "good in bed." I was afraid to tell people I was a virgin AND afraid to flub up in the sack, and I imagine a lot of kids through something similar.

Mar 04 11 - 8:16pm

same here nn

Mar 03 11 - 10:59pm

Obesity rates are also at an all time high.

Just sayin.

Mar 04 11 - 12:51am
Misty Jean

Well, I'm not fat, but still a virgin...

Mar 03 11 - 11:29pm
Tex Tyng

Maybe sexting is the new sex? Maybe they're all so busy playing with their Crackberries they never get around to playing with each other?

Mar 04 11 - 12:59am

You watch way too much cable news.

Mar 04 11 - 1:29am

I'm 18 and I've never had any types of sex (vaginal, oral, anal). I haven't met the right person and honestly, I'm already stressed out with school, work, and my other types of relationships. Why complicate my life further at this point for sex? I'll just wait awhile longer.

Mar 04 11 - 6:00am

Maybe we've gotten closer to that wonderful time in the future where people stop seeing virginity as a moral issue? I mean most people are still having sex by that age so we can't society has become repressed. I like to think that this number represents the fact that some people are just virgins for a little longer than others, maybe because they haven't met someone they were comfortable with or weren't comfortable with themselves yet.

What always pisses me off about people discussing virginity is that people see it as reflection on someone's moral character (either negative or positive). I may be dreaming of a naive fantasy world but I hope that one day the only reasons two teens have sex is because they feel like fucking each other and are comfortable with doing it. Right now a lot of kids still do it out of some fear or pressure about losing virginity.

Mar 04 11 - 8:59am

Well said.

Mar 04 11 - 3:56pm

Indeed, couldn't agree more.

Mar 04 11 - 8:17pm


Dec 06 11 - 3:57pm
Daniel Leach

30% of under 24s havent had sex?????
50% of under 24s are less than 12 years old!!!!!!!!
Something doesnt add up.
Or the world we live in is sicker than I thought.

Jan 30 12 - 6:50pm

Where exactly did you come up with 50% are under 12...last I knew there wasn't an exact equal amount of people at every single age.

Feb 16 12 - 2:08am

right well after reading this I feel much better about my own situation.
being that I turned 20 last Christmas and haven't had sex yet, I feel inferior like I'm not yet a man, never mind the fact that I've never had a full-time job or anything of merit to make my life seem excitable or attractive, I'm just your run of the Mill English male, went to an all boys school, never had a girlfriend that actually meant anything, left school with good qualifications, but when I went to college, there was a girl I liked, but it didnt work out, she broke my heart and since then, its been rejection after rejection. recently I watched my parents marriage of nearly 35 years crumble, I haven't even held a girl in my arms or even had a little smooch or something for what feels like an eternity. I just feel that in maybe 10 - 15 years, I'll open my eyes and ill look back over my youth and realize that I wasted my life. I'm glad to know others are in my position, but it scares me so much, I didn't choose to be this way :/

Mar 28 12 - 5:32am

The elephant in the room is the recession and feminism. Women won't deal with you if you can't buy them anything.

So much for equality.