Teen sex: number of teens having intercourse is down nationally

April 10, 2011
Author: Sara Lenz | Deseret News

KANSAS CITY — It's a Friday evening in Kansas City, and inside a crowded auditorium full of about 22,000 teenagers, a man named Jason Evert is walking back and forth across a blue-lit stage.

Evert is in his mid-30s, but he has the youthful, energetic manner of a college student. Tonight, he looks like a college student too: black necklace, spiked blonde hair, sleeves rolled up.

Sometimes, at moments like this, Evert feels like he's in the middle of a Justin Bieber concert. And by the time he's done, the entire auditorium will be on their feet, clapping and cheering.

Evert's topic: sex. But what makes his message unique in today's media landscape is what he's saying: kids should remain pure and chaste until marriage.

"The kids are hungry for this," Evert said. He and his wife, Crystalina, go to dozens of schools a year in both the U.S. and abroad teaching chastity and said they get about the same response wherever they go. 

Despite shows like Glee and Skins which make it seem like every high schooler either wants to have sex or is already doing it, a just released study found that the amount of teens having sexual intercourse is dropping. In fact, according to the study by the Center for Disease and Control, sex among teens is down from just six years ago.

In Utah, it is unclear whether teens are following this same trend; Utah is one of a handful of states that withholds the questions about sexual behaviors on the Youth Risk Behavior Survey given out each year by the CDC.

Teens, educators and researchers have different ideas about why fewer teens are having sex. Evert, who speaks to about 100,000 teens a year, said it might be because this rising generation are children of divorce and see what can happen in a relationship when two people aren't committed. And a University of Utah student, Brian Buxton, said he believes that students are getting the message about STDs and teen pregnancy loud and clear and have decided to wait until after high school to start that kind of relationship.

Students want to be told that chastity is good, Evert said, but far too many educators and parents either just try to scare students into not having sex or just assume they will and tell them preventative measures.