Teens' Facebook Sex Talk May Not Be Just Talk

Sexual references signal intent to have intercourse, study finds

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SATURDAY, May 1, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers report that teens who include sexual references on their Facebook profiles may very well be planning to have sex.

Nearly half of U.S. teens younger than college age report having had sexual intercourse, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, with the median age of intercourse being 16.9 years for males and 17.4 years for females.

"Parents and physicians are often seeking clues for when it's time to have 'the talk' about sex with a teenager," Dr. Megan A. Moreno of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and co-author of a study on kids' posting on social networking sites, said in a news release from the American Academy of Pediatrics. "Our study suggests that if sexual content is noted on a teen's social networking site profile, it's definitely time for that talk."

The researchers examined Facebook pages of 85 first-year college students and studied their responses to a survey about their sexual experiences and their future intentions regarding sex.

Those who displayed sexual references on their Facebook pages were more likely than the others to be planning to have sexual intercourse.

The study authors wrote that social networking sites such as Facebook could give parents, clinicians and educators insight into whether to target teens with details regarding safer sex.

The study was to be presented Saturday at the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual meeting in Vancouver.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more for parents on teens' sexually risky behaviors.

SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics, press release, May 1, 2010

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