RESEARCHERS are urging teenage lesbians to protect themselves against STIs as less than one-third discussed protection with their last sexual partner, according to The Sun. Insightful statistics, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, reveal that lesbian teens lost their virginity at a younger age, had more sexual partners and were more likely to engage in riskier sex.
The study, driven by researchers from the University of British Columbia and City University of New York, took data from over 2,800 13-18 year old girls between 2010 and 2011. One in five of the sexually active lesbian participants admitted that they had engaged in sexual activity with a man.
Co-author of the study, Michele Ybarra, explained: “Our findings highlight that sexual orientation labels and sexual behaviour don’t always align – especially during the teen years.” Lesbians were more likely to lose their virginity in their early teens, at an average age of 13 years nine months. This average age is almost two years earlier than heterosexual teenage girls, who had sex for the first time at 15 years six months.
Lesbian teens had a higher number of partners than straight teens and were less likely to be wary of catching a sexually transmitted disease. The report claims: “Lesbians are less likely to believe they are at risk for STIs when having sex”, with under a third discussing protection with their most sexual partners.
Researchers found: “Lesbians also were more likely to report infrequent condom use and less likely to have conversations with partners about the use of barriers (e.g., dental dams) before first sex.”
In contrast, almost two-thirds of bi and straight girls had discussed forms of protection with their partners, possibly because they’re at risk of unplanned pregnancy. Sexual health specialists hope that the shocking findings will encourage more lesbian teens to engage in safer sex.
University of Boston Columbia’s nursing professor Elizabeth Saewyc said: “Sexual health education should be comprehensive and cover sexual health for everyone. “Programs need to teach all youth about safe sexual practices for the kinds of sex they’re having, and that means teaching pregnancy prevention and condom negotiation skills to lesbian and bisexual girls too.”