Nathan, 1986; Lewis and Freeman, 1987), there has been no review of the extent to which social scientists studying sexuality lack such preparation.

Trends in Sexual Activity

Although the discomfort and secrecy surrounding sexuality in America have limited scientific knowledge and prevented many parents and others from recognizing that adolescents as well as adults are sexually active, there are some scientific data regarding sexual activity. These data suggest that adolescents and young adults are not only sexually active but have very high rates of high-risk sexual behavior.

In the United States, nearly 70 percent of students in the twelfth grade have had sexual intercourse (Figure 3-3), and 27 percent of twelfth-grade students

Figure 3-3

Percentage of U.S. high school students who reported ever having sexual intercourse, by grade level, 1993. SOURCE: CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 1993. CDC Surveillance Summaries, MMWR 1995;44(No. SS-1).

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