Teens Struggle with Their Sexual Identity

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 25, 2010 | Go to article overview

Teens Struggle with Their Sexual Identity


Byline: Karen Matthews Associated Press

NEW YORK Nearly one-tenth of sexually active New York City high school students say they have had at least one same-sex partner, and teens who say theyve had sexual contact with both sexes report above-average rates of dating violence, forced sex and risky sexual behavior, a study says.

The study published today in the journal Pediatrics analyzed 17,220 public health surveys and found over a third of teens who had same-sex encounters identified themselves as straight. Advocates said the results point to the need for public health messages to target behavior, not identity.

Its troubling, but not surprising, the youths who reported encounters with both sexes had higher rates of risky behavior and violence, said Dr. Susan Blank, assistant commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. "It has been shown in the literature that students who have both male and female partners have a lot of adverse health problems," she said.

The report is based on surveys administered in New York City high schools in 2005 and 2007. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey is distributed every two years by the health department to a sampling of high schools.

Of the students who completed the survey, 7,261 said they had had sexual intercourse. The survey asked questions including the number of sex partners in the teens lifetime, as well as in the previous three months, and whether there was a history of forced sex or dating violence. …

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