A new survey carried out by the Queen’s University and the University of Ulster has laid bare the sexual preferences of teenagers in Northern Island. The survey asked 1,434 teenagers aged 16 a variety of questions about their sexual experience and their sex lives. Findings from the survey suggested that as many as 26% of these teens had already had sex, with 46% of them losing their virginity at the age of 16, 31% at the age of 15 and 22% of them at even younger ages.
Of those who stated that they had sex, 30% disclosed that the choice to have sex was spontaneous and unplanned while 29% of the teens answered that they had planned to have sex with their partners in advance. More than half of these teens – 62% to be precise – were happy with their decision to have sex while 34% expressed regret. The survey also found that 30% of those who had sex while in relationships had remained with their partners while 54% had only had sex with a single partner. 62% of the teens also stated that they were able to easily find contraception.
These findings fly in the face of conventional thoughts that state teenagers are irresponsible and overly promiscuous. In truth, the majority of teenagers opted not to have sex at all, while only a small percentage of those who did have sex did so without any forethought. The survey also discovered that sex education in schools is fairly effective with 42% of the survey participants stating that their school was their most trustworthy and reliable source of information about sex. A number of teens did make criticisms, however, disliking the negative framing of sexual acts by their teachers. They also found it difficult to approach their teachers to discuss subjects surrounding sex.
Dr. Dirk Schubotz of Queen’s University commented on the survey results stating that the way sex education is taught needs to be changed with a more positive and open approach needed to reach more students.