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'Hookups' and Dating Similar to Teens

'Hookups' and Dating Similar to Teens

WebMD Health News

Oct. 18, 2002 -- Whether it's a "hookup" that happens in the closet at a party with an acquaintance, or a romantic date with a girlfriend or boyfriend, there's a one in four chance that sex will be on the agenda for teenagers. A new survey shows that about a quarter of teens say that sexual intercourse or oral sex are equally likely to occur in either situation.

The national telephone survey, released this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation, polled 505 teens between the ages of 15 to 17 and was conducted July 11 to 17, 2002 by International Communications Research.

Researchers say the survey shows there's little difference when it comes to what teens are doing sexually in their relationships with the opposite sex, whether it's a casual encounter or part of a long-term relationship. About a quarter of teens said oral sex and sexual intercourse are a routine part of both types of relationships.

In addition, more than a third of all sexually active teens said they have had sexual intercourse in what they considered a "casual" relationship. And 34% of teens overall, regardless of whether they had ever had sexual intercourse, said they had done "something sexual" in a more casual encounter.

In contrast, teens were more likely to say that activities like kissing and touching define a more serious, dating relationship, which suggests that they consider these to be more intimate behaviors.

But the survey shows teens are more likely to use condoms in a casual sexual encounter than in a more serious relationship. Researchers say that suggests that teens might be a bit too trusting in their relationships, even though they're aware of the risks.

Teens said there is less of a need to use a condom if they are in a long-term relationship, but 24% said that cheating is a pretty common occurrence. Rather than using a form of birth control that might protect them from a sexually transmitted disease, 6 in 10 said they are more likely to use birth control pills than condoms if they are in a relationship with someone they trust.

Although they feel it's more important to use a condom in casual encounters, more than 70% of teens agreed that girls are more empowered to ask that condoms be used with a boyfriend than during a "hookup." Most teens said it was easier to talk about the risk of STDs with someone they were in a relationship with or trusted.

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