Parents can breathe a big sigh of relief. A new study determines that teens having sex seem to do just as well in school as teens who abstain.
This is really good news considering the fact that last year nearly half of high school students reported having sex.
However, all this really depends on the kind of sex the teens are having.
The study, conducted by University of California, Davis sociologist Bill McCarthy and University of Minnesota sociologist Eric Grodsky, found that teens in committed sexual relationships fared fine in school, actually finding social and emotional support in their sex partners, which helped reduce their anxiety and stress levels in life and in school.
"This should give some comfort to parents who may be concerned that their teenage son or daughter is dating," said sociologist Peggy Giordano of Bowling Green State University. Teen sex is "not going to derail their educational trajectories."
However, not all teens having sexual intercourse are in the clear in terms of their education. Not surprisingly, the study also found that teens who were hooking up and have casual sex actually got lower grades, cared less about school, and had more school-related problems.
So let me rephrase my opening statement. Parents of teens in committed relationships can breathe a big sigh of relief in terms of their kids' school performances. Parents of teens who are or might be sleeping around? Carry on with the worrying.
Probably the most provocative outcome:
The study dispels the notion that all teen sex is bad, said Marie Harvey, professor of public health at Oregon State University.
"The type of relationship really matters. When it comes to sexual behavior, it takes two to tango," said Harvey, adding that safe sex should be practiced to prevent teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Wow, not all teen sex is bad. That's enlightening for sure and relieving in a strange way, but even so, it's still going to be an easy pill for many parents to swallow.
Are you relieved by these finding or did you stick your fingers in your ears and start singing "la la la" the minute we mentioned "teen sex"?
Image via karpov the wrecked train/Flickr
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