Coital and non-coital sexual behaviors of white and black adolescents

Am J Public Health. 1985 Oct;75(10):1200-3. doi: 10.2105/ajph.75.10.1200.


As part of a longitudinal study of young adolescents, data were collected in 1980 on the non-coital and coital sexual experiences of male and female adolescents who ranged in age from 12 to 15 at the time of the initial contact. The follow-up data were collected two years later. Both a Guttman-scale analysis and a longitudinal analysis of these data indicate different sexual patterns between White and Black teens; Whites are more likely than Blacks to engage in a predictable series of non-coital behaviors for a period of time before their first intercourse experience. Of the sexual behaviors studied, the pre-coital experiences of Black teens were less predictable and often involved only necking. These differences in sexual norms offer a partial explanation for the different pregnancy rates between these two groups. They also suggest that sexual and contraceptive education and counseling need to be cognizant of these differences since pre-coital experience may function as both a mechanism to prolong abstinence and to promote a gradual acceptance of one's sexuality.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • African Americans
  • Child
  • Coitus*
  • Data Collection
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Sexual Behavior*