The Sexual Practices of Adolescent Virgins

Genital Sexual Activities of High School Students Who Have Never Had Vaginal Intercourse

by Mark A. Schuster, Robert M. Bell, David E. Kanouse


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price
Add to Cart Paperback7 pages Free

The purpose of this study was to determine whether high school-aged virgins engage in sexual practices that can transmit sexually transmitted diseases, including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Data were collected from an anonymous self-administered survey of 2026 urban students in 9th through 12th grades. Forty-seven percent of adolescents were virgins (42% of male adolescents and 53% of female adolescents). Of those who were virgins, 29% and 31% reported that, during the prior year, they had engaged in heterosexual masturbation of a partner and masturbation by a partner, respectively. The corresponding rates for heterosexual fellatio with ejaculation, cunnilingus, and anal intercourse were 9%, 10%, and 1%. Homosexual sexual activities were rare. Condom use for fellatio was also rare. Level of risk of virgins' sexual activities was associated with illicit substance use and other non-sexual risk behaviors, even after demographic variables had been controlled. Few high school-aged virgins engaged in anal intercourse, but many engaged in other genital activities. Some of these activities can transmit disease, and all can indicate a need for counseling about sexual decisionmaking, risk, and prevention.

Originally published in: American Journal of Public Health, v. 86, no. 11, November 1996, pp. 1570-1576.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.