It's Better on TV: Does Television Set Teenagers Up for Regret Following Sexual Initiation

Martino, S. C.,
Collins, R. L.,
Elliott, M. N.,
Kanouse, D. E.,
Berry, S. H.
Journal Article
Year Published: 2009
Guttmacher Institute
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 41(2); 2009
Guttmacher Institute

Among sexually experienced teenagers in the United States, two-thirds say they wish they had waited longer to have intercourse for the first time. However, little is known about why these teenagers express regret about the timing of their initial experience with sex. In this study, the authors examined this issue using data from a national, three-year (2001-2004) longitudinal survey of adolescents aged 12-17 at baseline. They explored the association between exposure to sex on television and the likelihood of regret following sexual initiation, the extent to which shifts in expectations about the positive consequences of sex mediate this association, and whether these relationships differ by gender. Sixty-one percent of females and 39 percent of males who had sex for the first time during the study period reported that they wished they had waited to have sex. Exposure to sexual content on television was positively associated with the likelihood of regret following sexual initiation among males butnot females. The association among males was partly explained by a downward shift in males' sex-related outcome expectancies following sexual initiation. Modified Author Abstract.

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