Teens Are Having Less Sex, Using More Protection

New research shows that more teens are waiting to have sex, and more are using protection.

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Having informative, honest conversations with teens about safe sex can make a big difference, according to a new study. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that while the number of teens having sex has decreased significantly in the past 25 years, the number of teens using contraception remains high. This can help explain why the rate of teen pregnancy hit historic lows last spring—suggesting that when teens do know about birth control options, they tend to take more precautions.

As for the rate of teens having sex, the amount is the lowest it's been since the '80s. The number of teens (ages 15-19) having sex dropped from 51 percent of girls and 60 percent of boys in 1988, to 44 percent of girls and 47 percent of boys from 2011-2013.

Why the change? Research shows that adolescents are deciding to wait longer before taking that step. Thanks to sex education, those who do decide to have sex are making smart decisions about it—the study shows that more teens are using contraception, according to CNN. The numbers haven't changed too much since 2002, but they remain high nevertheless.

If you're not sure how to talk to teens about these topics—we understand. It can be a tough topic, but it's still an important one. That's why Choices teamed up with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy to provide comprehensive sex ed. resources for health teachers. Check those out!

Another must-read? Our "Kids With Kids" story from May 2015, where three teens open up about what life is really like as a young parent.