Entries in Sexual Activity (5)


HPV Vaccine Does Not Raise Sexual Activity, Study Finds

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Adolescent girls who get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine are no more likely to engage in sexual activity than girls who do not get the vaccine, according to a new study that challenges a widely held belief.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus, and some strains of the virus can lead to oral and genital cancers.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend the HPV vaccine for girls and boys as young as age 11.

Previous surveys have found that some parents are concerned their daughter may be more likely to engage in sexual activity if they receive the vaccine.

"Some parents are concerned that saying 'yes' to the HPV vaccine is also encouraging teenagers to say 'yes' to sex," said Dr. Carol Ford, chief of the Craig Dalsimer division of adolescent medicine at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

The new findings, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, are the first clinical data to study the concern, and found that the HPV vaccine does not lead to increased sexual activity among adolescent girls.

Researchers from Emory University in Atlanta followed electronic data of nearly 1,400 girls aged 11 and 12 between July 2006 and December 2010 to see whether they received at least one dose of the vaccine within the first year and whether they were later counseled about contraception, acquired a sexually transmitted disease or became pregnant.

More than a quarter of girls ages 15 to 17 report being sexually active, according to the CDC.

The study followed the girls to the age range where sexual activity would have been initiated, according to the researchers.

The nearly 500 girls who received at least one dose of the vaccine were no more likely to be diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease, discuss contraception or become pregnant than the nearly 900 girls who did not get the vaccine, the study found.

"We couldn't directly look at sexual activity, so we looked at external outcomes that would suggest sexual activity," said Dr. Robert Bednarczyk, clinical investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research Southeast, and lead author of the study. The study is based on the assumption that girls who engage in sexual activity would seek care for a sexually transmitted disease, ask for contraception or become pregnant.

According to some experts, the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine are more concerning to many parents than whether their child will see it as a gateway to sexual activity.  Still, the findings are reassuring to a smaller group of parents who may see this it as a reason to be apprehensive.

"Those of us who work with adolescents are happy to use this information in discussing the vaccine with parents," said Dr. Eve Shapiro, a pediatrician in Tucson, Ariz.

In previous surveys, adolescent girls reported that they would not be more likely engage in sexual activity if they got the vaccine.

"We did a clinical validation of the self reported data," said Bednarczyk.  "This is reassuring to physicians and the parents that the concern doesn't need to be there."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sexting Linked to Increased Sexual Activity in Teens

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Teens who "sext" are more likely to have sex, a new study finds.

The study probed the texting tendencies and sexual activity of more than 1,800 Los Angeles high-schoolers. Of the teens who used cellphones, fifteen percent reported sexting -- sending and receiving sexually explicit text messages. And teens who sexted were seven times more likely to report being sexually active, according to the study.

"This study is the first to show what teens are doing with their cellphones and what they're doing with their bodies," said Eric Rice, assistant professor at the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California and lead author of the study, published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Sexting doesn't occur in isolation. More than half of the teens in the study knew someone who sexted, and teens who sexted were seventeen times more likely to have friends who sext, the study found.

"There are some groups of teens who are sexting and some groups of teens who are not," said Rice. "If their friends do it, they're going to do it. The teens who are sexting are in peer groups in which sexting is a normal part of their behaviors."

Rice said parents should be aware of the effect of their teen's social group on sexting.

"Parents have understood for a long time who their kids hang out with impacts whether or not they get involved with drugs or try hard in school," he said. "Now parents should be worried about who their kids hang out may affect whether or not they are sexting."

If teens talk about their friends' sexting, there's a good chance they're doing it too, Rice said.

And "if that teen is sexting, there's a really good chance that that teen is sexually active," he added.

But sexting doesn't necessarily lead to teenage sex, the study authors cautioned. It could be, rather, that sex leads to sexting. Or the two might happen independently at roughly the same time.

The authors also stressed that the findings in Los Angeles teens may not hold true for teens across the rest of the country. More research looking at sexting and sexual behavior of teens nationwide is needed, they wrote in their study.

But why are so many teens sexting? Because teens like to show off and watch others show off, one expert suggested.

"When we reach adolescence, we are hardwired to become sexually aware and engage in sexual behavior," said Karen North, director of the Annenberg Program on Online Communities at the University of Southern California, who was not involved with the study.

North said sexting is no different than playing games of doctor or strip poker, or sharing pornographic magazines between friends.

"That behavior, which is completely normal for adolescents who are coming of age, is now being facilitated today by technology that can make this type of behavior accidentally become public," she said. "It is not just teens who fall victim to the unexpected publicity of their private acts due to social media... We even have high profile public figures, such as Anthony Weiner, who after years of appearing at public events found his biggest audience ever when his seemingly private sex related text became a worldwide spectacle."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Teens Who Sleep More Get into Less Trouble, Study Suggests

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Parents might hate it when their teens can't get out of bed -- particularly on a school day -- but a new study suggests they should be grateful for those extra Zs, because the more an adolescent sleeps, the less chance he or she has of getting into trouble.

The data released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that teens who get fewer than eight hours of sleep are more inclined than their sleepier peers to drink alcohol, take drugs, get into fights and engage in sexual activity.

Furthermore, youngsters who are sleep-deprived are also more likely to use tobacco, sit around the house rather than exercise, and contemplate suicide.

About seven in 10 teens sleep fewer than eight hours a night, so the risk group is far bigger than high schoolers who get more shuteye.

The CDC also found that for some reason, teens who sleep more also tend to watch more TV.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


A Peek behind the Door at Sex Surrogates

getty(BOCA RATON, Fla.) -- Barbara Krakower, a sex therapist from Boca Raton, Fla., sometimes relies on individuals called sex surrogates to treat her patients.

Some of these patients include: a 54-year-old virgin whose mother had taught him that women are no good, a wheelchair-bound man fearful of initiating a new relationship post-divorce, and a 32-year-old whose first lover berated him when he couldn’t sustain an erection.

In each case, Krakower offered to call in a surrogate, someone who is paid to consult with the therapist to get to the root of the patient's phobia or inhibition and then ultimately work it out between the sheets if necessary.

Sex surrogacy may be the oldest or the newest profession in the world. In the past, French fathers initiated their adolescent sons by introducing them to their mistresses. In other cultures, a young virgin is given physical guidance before consummation of the marriage.

Today, at least in Florida, the state neither officially bans nor condones it.

Sex surrogacy as a counseling practice emerged in the 1970s, according to sex expert Pepper Schwartz, who is a professor of sociology at the University of Washington.

"The problem has always been the link between prostitution and surrogacy," Schwartz said. "But they are trained to work with the therapist so they are not just having sex.

"Usually, you are dealing with people who have some pretty strong problems," she said.

The surrogates are credentialed and trained by the International Professional Surrogates Association (IPSA) and can be either male or female.

Therapists say more men than women use surrogates because they tend to have more performance anxiety than women.

Legality issues have not been problematic, mostly because surrogates don't advertise their skills and are usually referred by licensed therapists.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Heart Attack Risk: Does Having Sex Really Tax the Ol' Ticker?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- It has become a Hollywood cliché -- the older man who clutches his chest and keels over midway through having sex -- but is it as real as people think? New research from Tufts Medical Center suggests that sex does increase the risk of a heart attack, but the risk is still small and only rises during and soon after doing the deed.

Researchers analyzed past studies in which heart attack victims, mostly men in their 50s and 60s, were questioned about their activities just preceding and during their coronaries to see if sex served as a trigger for their cardiac events.

While they found that sexual activity caused a 2.7 percent increased risk of heart attack, this overall risk was quite small and should not dissuade those with heart disease from indulging in a little bedroom action. They say that's important, especially since several other studies show that regular sexual activity (usually defined as two or more times a week) actually decreases one's risk of heart attack over time.

Lead author Dr. Issa Dahabreh says people shouldn't take the new report to mean the sex is harmful for those with heart disease "because the absolute risk is really small."

What's more, patients could battle this increased risk by being physically active on a regular basis. Regular exercise made sex and other types of physical exertion less likely to be a trigger for heart attack, the study found.

"We saw a 45 percent reduction in the relative risk of heart attack with every additional weekly exercise session," says co-author Jessica Paulus, an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health.

"The main take-home [is that] regular exercise training, which we should be promoting anyway as a means to improve cardio respiratory fitness…will markedly reduce the risk associated with both acute exercise/exertion as well as sexual activity," says Dr. Chip Lavie, medical director of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prevention at John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute.

What's more, the emotional and physical benefits of sexual satisfaction have also been linked in several studies to overall health and specifically cardiac health.

In a 2010 study published in the American Journal of Cardiology, men between the ages of 50 and 70 were followed for 16 years and quizzed about sexual activity. Researchers found that sex twice a week reduced the risk of heart disease in these men by up to 45 percent, compared to their peers who had sex once a month or less.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, heart surgeon and host of the Dr. Oz Show, is also famous for recommending frequent sex (three times a week) as a way for men decrease their risk of heart attack and stroke by 50 percent.

So the exertion of a romp in the bedroom may briefly increase the risk of heart attack, but the cardiovascular and emotional benefits of regular sexual satisfaction far outweigh the downside, especially in those who are regularly active in other ways as well.

"The bottom line is that people should not fear sexual activity, but should fear sedentary lifestyle and physical inactivity," says Lavie.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio