Half of Dutch teenagers have had full sex for the first time by the time they reach the age of 18.6, a rise of 1.5 years on 2012, according to a major new survey of youngsters’ sexual habits.
The survey, carried out by the Rutgers foundation, involved a representative sample of 20,000 Dutch youngsters under the age of 25. ‘It is difficult to say what has prompted the shift,’ the foundation said. ‘46% of the boys and 59% of the girls who have not had sex consider themselves to be too young.’
However, researcher Hanneke de Graaf told broadcaster NOS that the findings fit in with a broader European trend. ‘It could be that social media is steering youngsters away from an interest in sexuality. That all those hours on Whatsapp and Instagram have left less time over for physical flirting.’
The research also said that 94% of boys and 90% of girls say they enjoy sex and that fewer young teenagers are having sexual experiences. This, say the researchers, is a good development because ‘early beginners are more vulnerable and less able to protect themselves.’
While the contraceptive pill remains the most popular form of contraception, its use has gone down from 61% to 50% while IUDs have become more common. In addition, 70% used a condom the first time they had sex.
Youngsters have also become more accepting of homosexuality, the survey shows. in 2012, 50% of boys and 25% of girls said they did not approve of two men kissing in the street, but that has now gone down to 27% and 13%.
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