Think of the Children, Cont.

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Carolyn Butler reports:


But while it may be our natural, god-given right to freak out about the sex lives of adolescents—and though it does seem as if unfettered access to the likes of Lady Gaga's disco stick, Ludacris's sex room and the wilds of the Internet have helped take burgeoning sexuality to a whole new level—it appears that young people today really aren't any more promiscuous than we were. In fact, in the aggregate they're actually less so, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. 

This survey of more than 2,700 teenagers across the country found that 43 percent of boys and 42 percent of girls between ages 15 and 19 say they have had sex, a figure that's more or less unchanged since 2002 and compares with 55 percent of boys and 51 percent of girls in 1988. The new data, from 2006 to 2008, also showed that contraceptive use has remained steady in recent years, with 87 percent of boys and 79 percent of girls reporting that they employed some form of birth control the first time they had sex...

Bill Albert, chief program officer for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, agrees: "I think that many adults look at teen culture as a blur of bare midriffs and think that things are only getting worse [when it comes to sexual activity], but I don't think the data from the past two or three decades supports that." He points out that teen pregnancy is down roughly 39 percent since its peak in 1990, according to other CDC statistics.

Clearly Drake (or whoever them darn kids are listenin' to) and his compatriots are ineffectual. Any real pop star worth their salt knows how to make condom use decline, and teen pregnancy skyrocket. On a serious note, Butler goes on to lay out some areas of concern. But listen, it's time to start analyzing all of this writing about "hooking up," not for what it says about young people, but what it says about the writers who engage it, and those parents who lap it up.

Again, props to Matt for making this an issue--or exposing it as a non-issue.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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