Promiscuous Britain: One in 4 young women admit they had underage sex – more than twice as many as mothers” generation
Young women today are far more likely to have had sex before they turned 16 than their mothers or grandmothers, according to new NHS figures.
More than one in four 16-24 year-olds (27 per cent) admitted they had had sex below the age of consent, according to the Health Survey for England in 2010.
This was nearly double the 14 per cent of women aged between 35 and 44 who revealed they hadn”t waited till they were 16.
Underage: Just 14 per cent of women who grew up in the eighties said they had had sex under 16, compared to 27 per cent of young adults today
Only four per cent of women who are now aged 55 to 69 said they had sex under 16.
Today”s report, published by the NHS Information Centre, also found that one in 10 young people aged 16 to 24 have had10 or more sexual partners.
The increase in sexual promiscuity among young adults is mirrored in a surge in tests for sexually-transmitted diseases.
Nearly half of young women (44 per cent) had been tested for the STI chlamydia, compared to 12 per cent of women aged 45 to 54. The same trend was seen in men, dropping from 27 per cent of men aged 16 to 24 to six per cent.
However, at the other end of the scale 26 per cent of women and 32 per cent of men aged 16 to 24 said they were still virgins.
Across all age groups, men have typically had 9.3 female sexual partners in their lifetime, while women have slept with an average of 4.7 men.
Almost a quarter of all women (24 per cent) have only ever had one sexual partner, compared to 17 per cent of men.
Overall men are twice as likely to have had 10 or more partners of the opposite sex than women – with 27 per cent compared to 13 per cent.
The survey included data from 8,420 adults and 5,692 children.
Shadow health minister Diane Abbott said: “The rising numbers of girls having under-age sex is alarming.
“It is not a cost-free phenomenon. It poses public health policy challenges and social challenges.
“The underlying cause must be the “pornification” of the culture and the increasing sexualisation of pre-adolescent girls.
“Too many young girls are absorbing from the popular culture around them that they only have value as sex objects. Inevitably they act this notion out.
“Government needs to respond to spiralling under-age sex, not with pointless schemes to teach abstinence, but with better PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) teaching in schools for both girls and boys.”
Rebecca Findlay, spokesperson for the sexual health charity FPA said the research highlighted the urgent need for statutory sex education in schools.
She said of the report: “Society has changed dramatically in the last fifty years and the nature of relationships has too.
“Education and information safeguard the sexual health needs of young people and help them resist having sex before they’re ready, which is why, given this data from the NHS Information Centre, there’s an overwhelming need for statutory sex and relationships education in schools.”
However, she added: “This tends to reflect other research on the issue, but we must remember that most young people under 16 aren’t sexually active.”
Public health minister Anne Milton said: “Young people should think carefully before having sex – it”s not something to rush into.
“Consider seriously if it”s right for you, what contraception to use and the best way to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections.”