Why do lesbian teens have riskier sex than bi or hetero girls?

Young lesbians may not think they're at risk for STIs

Young lesbians may not think they're at risk for STIs Flickr @NiYoCity

Lesbian teens have sex younger, have more partners and take more sexual risks than bi or heterosexual girls. And 1 in 5 sexually active lesbians in the U.S. also reported having sex with a man.

So finds a study a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Healthas reported in The Independent. The study collected data online from nearly 3,000 U.S. girls between the ages of 13 and 18.

The study also found that lesbian teens reportedly lose their virginity at the average age of 13 years and 9 months–significantly younger than bisexual girls (15 years and 1 month) and heterosexual girls (15 years and 6 months). And, it reported, lesbian and bi teens have more sexual partners than straight girls, although bi teens reported having more sex with males.

Lesbians were also found to take more sexual risks than their peers, with less than a third saying they had discussed using condoms or dental dams with their last sexual partner. “Lesbians are less likely to believe they are at risk for STIs when having sex,” the report conjectured.

“Our findings highlight that sexual orientation labels and sexual behaviour don’t always align – especially during the teen years,” said Michele Ybarra, one of the co-authors of the study. “This means that lesbian and bisexual girls may be having unprotected sex with boys – and with girls.”

The takeaway? “Programs need to teach all youth about safe sexual practices for the kinds of sex they’re having, and that means teaching pregnancy prevention and condom negotiation skills to lesbian and bisexual girls too,” said another of the study authors.

 

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