Heterosexual genital sexual activity among adolescent males: 1988 and 1995

G. J. Gates, F. L. Sonenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Context: Researchers have paid little attention to adolescents' experience with genital sexual activity other than vaginal intercourse, even though oral and anal intercourse expose youth to the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Methods: Males aged 15-19 interviewed in 1988 and 1995 as part of the National Survey of Adolescent Males were asked questions about whether they had ever engaged in a series of genital sexual activities. These data were collected in a self-administered questionnaire that respondents completed at the end of the interview. Results: In 1995, 55% of males aged 15-19 reported that they had ever engaged in vaginal intercourse, 53% that they had ever been masturbated by a female, 49% that they had ever received oral sex, 39% that they had ever given oral sex and 11% that they had ever engaged in anal sex. More than three-quarters of males who had had vaginal intercourse reported experience with masturbation or oral sex by a female. Moreover, one in five males who had never had vaginal intercourse reported having been masturbated by a female, and one in seven said they had received oral sex. Between 1988 and 1995, the proportion of males who reported having ever been masturbated by a female increased significantly, from 40% to 53%. There were less sizable shifts in the proportions who had received oral sex: Overall proportions were similar in both years, although levels more than doubled among black teenagers, an increase that brings them in line with levels of oral sex reported by white and Hispanic adolescent males in 1995. Conclusions: Evidence from the National Survey of Adolescent Males Showing that a substantial share of male teenagers engage in genital sexual activity beyond vaginal sexual intercourse underlines the importance of monitoring a broad spectrum of sexual behaviors among teenagers. More detailed data with larger samples of both males and females are needed to determine the frequency and timing of these behaviors. Measuring risk for STD infections among teenagers requires attention to all forms of genital sexual activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-297+304
JournalFamily Planning Perspectives
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Heterosexual genital sexual activity among adolescent males: 1988 and 1995'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this