Teens With Both-Sex Partners Engage in Risky Behaviors

Nearly 9 percent of girls have both-sex partners; 3 percent of both genders have only same-sex partners

TUESDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly one in 10 sexually active adolescents reports a same-sex partner, and those who have partners of both sexes report behaviors that put them at risk for sexually transmitted infections, according to research published online Oct. 25 in Pediatrics.

Preeti Pathela, M.P.H., and Julia A. Schillinger, M.D., of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, used 2005 to 2007 surveys of adolescents to obtain information describing their sexual behaviors, sexual identity, and the presence of sexual violence in their relationships. The adolescents were placed in three subgroups: those with only opposite-sex partners, those with only same-sex partners, and those with partners of both sexes.

Of the 3,805 sexually active male respondents and the 3,456 sexually active female respondents, 3.2 percent of both girls and boys reported only same-sex partners, but 8.7 percent of girls described having partners of both sexes, compared to only 3.7 percent of boys. The researchers noted a higher prevalence of sexual risk-taking behaviors in males with both-sex partners and females with both-sex and same-sex partners. Dating violence and forced sex were reported more often by adolescents having both-sex partners. Many teens who had same-sex and both-sex partners identified themselves as "straight."

"We were surprised to find that a majority (two-thirds) of adolescents with same-sex partners also reported opposite-sex partners. Adolescents who report both male and female partners deserve attention; we noted a higher prevalence of several behaviors that directly influence sexually transmitted infection acquisition and/or transmission, and a higher prevalence of intimate partner violence and forced sex among these youth," the authors write.

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Lindsey Marcellin

Lindsey Marcellin

Published on October 26, 2010

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