In the last few decades, young people have started having more and more "taboo" sex, according to new research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. And because they're having more adventurous sex, scientists are calling for more comprehensive sex education.
Researchers from the the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and University College London looked at data compiled from three British National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, taken between 1990 and 2012. The data represented 45,199 people and found that people between the ages of 16 and 24 have been increasingly moving away from "traditional" sexual activities.
"Taboo" sexual practices in this data analysis seems to be mostly regulated to anal sex, however, since the researchers only mention vaginal, oral, and anal sex. According to their data, vaginal and oral sex remain the most common sexual activities young people reported doing within the past year. But an increasing number of 16 to 24-year-olds have been adding anal sex into the mix. Only about one in 10 reported having anal sex in 1990-1991, but one in four men and one in five women were having anal sex in 2010-2012.
"At a time when much sex and relationships education is being updated, keeping pace with current trends in sexual practices is crucial so that curricula are tailored to the realities of young people's experiences," Ruth Lewis, PhD, an author on the study, told The Telegraph.
"By shedding light on when some young people are having sex and what kinds of sex they are having, our study highlights the need for accurate sex and relationships education that provides opportunities to discuss consent and safety in relation to a range of sexual practices."
It's important to note that this study focused only on heterosexual sex, and seems to miss data on sexual activities outside of vaginal, oral, and anal sex — like BDSM or other kink play, for example. Still, the research adds more evidence to what many experts have been saying for years — that teenagers need access to comprehensive, informative sex education if they're going to feel safe and confident in their sex lives.
Read these stories next: