Sexual Behaviors and Condom Use at Last Vaginal Intercourse: A National Sample of Adolescents Ages 14 to 17 Years


J. Dennis Fortenberry, MD, MS, Section of Adolescent Medicine, 410 W. 10th St., Room 1001, Indianapolis IN, 46202, USA. Tel: 317-274-8812; Fax: 317-274-0133; E-mail:


Introduction.  Data on adolescents' sexual and condom use behaviors provides an empirical basis for a range of social, educational, clinical, and public health endeavors.

Aims.  This study has two purposes: to describe the recent and lifetime prevalence of a variety of sexual behaviors; and, to describe factors associated with condom use at last penile–vaginal intercourse.

Methods.  Data included those from male (N = 414) and female (N = 406) adolescents (ages 14–17 years) from a nationally representative probability sample. Survey items addressed occurrence (past 90 days, past year, lifetime) of solo masturbation, partnered masturbation, oral sex given to a partner, oral sex received from a partner, vaginal intercourse, and anal intercourse. Participants reporting partnered sexual behaviors in the past year completed additional items about condom use, location of sex, partner characteristics, other sexual behaviors, and alcohol or marijuana use at the most recent sexual event.

Main Outcome Measures.  Adjusted rates (by gender) of sexual behaviors, and characteristics of most recent vaginal sex event as a function of condom use/non-use.

Results.  Lifetime prevalence of solo masturbation was common for males (80%) and females (48%). Lifetime prevalence of penile–vaginal sex increased with each year of age for both adolescent men and women; however, penile–vaginal sex within the previous 90 days was much less frequently reported. Rates of condom use for penile–vaginal sex were 80% for males and 69% for females. Lifetime anal sex rates were 4.7% for males and 5.5% for females.

Conclusion.  Sexual behavior among adolescents was more prevalent and diverse in older adolescent cohorts. Condom use for penile–vaginal intercourse was reported for a majority of events. Fortenberry JD, Schick V, Herbenick D, Sanders SA, Dodge B, and Reece M. Sexual behaviors and condom use at last vaginal intercourse: A national sample of adolescents ages 14 to 17 years. J Sex Med 2010;7(suppl 5):305–314.