Using the 1996 National Sexual Health Survey, researchers compared sexual health outcomes of people who engaged in sexual activity before the normal age range and after the normal age range. Researchers also examined the sexual health outcomes of individuals who had pre-marital and post-marital sex.
American Journal of Public Health journal article concluded that “early sexual debut is associated with certain long-term negative sexual health outcomes, including increased sexual risk behaviors and problems in sexual functioning. Late initiation was also associated with sexual problems, especially among men. Further research is needed to understand how sexual initiation patterns affect later health outcomes.” (Sanfort et al., 2008, p.155)
- “Men and women who had had an early start reported more sexual partners in the past year and the preceding 5 years and were more likely to have had sexual intercourse with at least 1 risky partner in the preceding 1 and 5 years.” (Sanfort et al., 2008, p. 157)
- “Men and women whose first sexual intercourse had occurred after marriage reported fewer sexual partners and were less likely to have had sexual intercourse with a risky partner in the preceding 5 years. Women whose first sexual intercourse had occurred after marriage were less likely to have had sexual intercourse under the influence of alcohol or drugs.” (Sanfort et al., 2008, p. 157)
Citation: Sanfort, T. G. M., Orr, M., Hirsch, J.S., and Santelli, J. (2008). Long-term health correlates of timing of sexual debut: Results from a national US study. American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 98., No. 155-161