The sexual practices of adolescent virgins: genital sexual activities of high school students who have never had vaginal intercourse

Am J Public Health. 1996 Nov;86(11):1570-6. doi: 10.2105/ajph.86.11.1570.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine whether high school-aged virgins engage in sexual practices that can transmit sexually transmitted diseases, including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Methods: Data were collected from an anonymous self-administered survey of 2026 urban students in 9th through 12th grades.

Results: Forty-seven percent of adolescents were virgins (42% of male adolescents and 53% of female adolescents). Of those who were virgins, 29% and 31% reported that, during the prior year, they had engaged in heterosexual masturbation of a partner and masturbation by a partner, respectively. The corresponding rates for heterosexual fellatio with ejaculation, cunnilingus, and anal intercourse were 9%, 10%, and 1%. Homosexual sexual activities were rare. Condom use for fellatio was also rare. Level of risk of virgins' sexual activities was associated with illicit substance use and other non-sexual risk behaviors, even after demographic variables had been controlled.

Conclusions: Few high school-aged virgins engaged in anal intercourse, but many engaged in other genital sexual activities. Some of these activities can transmit disease, and all can indicate a need for counseling about sexual decision making, risk, and prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Coitus
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Masturbation
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology