The percentage of boys who start having sex at a young age can vary based on factors such as where they live and their mothers’ education level, according to a new study. Yet among those boys, only about half described their first time as something they fully “wanted.”
The study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics on Monday, found that 3.6% to 7.6% of boys and young men in the United States — nearly 1 in 13 — report having had sex for the first time before they turned age 13.
The researchers are calling for more education, care and conversations about supporting healthy sexual development in boys.
“Too often, the sexual health needs of young men are overlooked. These findings have major implications for the timing of sex education and sexual and reproductive health care,” said Laura Lindberg, a principal research scientist at the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights think tank, and first author of the study.
In general, about age 17 is when most boys and girls have sex for the first time — but boys are more likely than girls to have sex for the first time before 13, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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