Patterns of Vaginal, Oral, and Anal Sexual Intercourse in an Urban Seventh-Grade Population
Article first published online: 9 MAR 2009
© 2009, American School Health Association
Journal of School Health
Volume 79, Issue 4, pages 193–200, April 2009
How to Cite
Markham, C. M., Fleschler Peskin, M., Addy, R. C., Baumler, E. R. and Tortolero, S. R. (2009), Patterns of Vaginal, Oral, and Anal Sexual Intercourse in an Urban Seventh-Grade Population. Journal of School Health, 79: 193–200. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2008.00389.x
- Issue published online: 9 MAR 2009
- Article first published online: 9 MAR 2009
- Accepted on October 20, 2008
- child and adolescent health;
- human sexuality;
- reproductive health;
- risk behaviors
Background: This study examines the prevalence of vaginal, oral, and anal intercourse among a population of urban, public middle school students, the characteristics of early sexual initiators, and the sequence of sexual initiation. Such data are limited for early adolescents.
Methods: A total of 1279 seventh-grade students (57.3% female, 43.6% black, and 41.8% Hispanic), mean age 12.5 years (SD = 0.63) from 10 middle schools in a large southeastern US public school district completed a cross-sectional survey using audio computer-assisted self-interviews. Main outcomes included lifetime and past 3-months’ experience of vaginal, oral, and anal sex; condom use; age of initiation; and number of lifetime partners.
Results: Overall, 12.0% of students had engaged in vaginal sex, 7.9% in oral sex, and 6.5% in anal sex. Among students who had initiated intercourse, approximately two thirds were currently sexually active and one quarter reported ≥4 lifetime partners. Six percent had engaged in 1 type of intercourse, 4% in 2 types of intercourse, and 4% in all 3 types of intercourse; vaginal sex was typically initiated at an earlier or at the same age as other types of intercourse. Only 2% had engaged in oral sex without engaging in vaginal sex. Although black students were significantly more likely to have initiated sex compared to other racial/ethnic groups, Hispanic students who had initiated each type of intercourse were more likely to be currently sexually active and to have engaged in recent unprotected sex.
Conclusions: A small percentage of early adolescents are engaging in multiple sexual behaviors. These findings have implications for early adolescent school-based sexual health education.