Appalling report on teenage group sex

Over half of girls in the survey reported that they had been coerced into group sex.

A study led by a Boston University School of Public Health faculty member revealed that one in 13 teenage girls (ages 14 to 20) have had at least one group-sex experience. The survey included 328 females who had used Boston-area community or school-based health clinics.  More than 7% of teen girls have engaged in group sex, and half of them said they were threatened or forced into the act.

Published in the Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, the report showed that 7.3% of the women admitted to having participated in "multi-person sex," 52% reported being pressured, and 43% reported being threatened or forced. The average age for first encounters with group sex is 15.6 years of age.

Associate Professor Emily Rothman of Boston University conducted the survey of 328 females between the ages of 14 and 20, at community or school health clinics in the Boston area. Rothman used the term “multi-person sex” to include both consensual acts, like group sex or threesomes, as well as forced occurrences like gang rape.

“The majority of MPS-experienced girls in this sample reported being pressured, threatened, coerced, or forced to participate in MPS at least once,” Rothman said in a statement.

"The study is heartbreaking," said bestselling author Teresa Tomeo, "but given the state of our culture, it's not exactly surprising. We can't keep flooding the airwaves and the Internet with heavy sexual content -- selling the over-sexualization of women and girls through provocative advertising and TV shows -- and not expect to see negative fallout."

Other findings of the survey included:

    * Those who viewed pornography in the month preceding the survey were about five times as likely to report a group-sex experience, when compared to those who had not seen porn. The researchers reported a strong association between exposure to pornography, being forced to do things their sexual partner saw in porn, and engaging in group sex. More than half of the 7.3 percent who said they had group sex reported being pressured to engage in a situation involving multiple sexual partners.

    * More than half of the participants were younger than 16 when they had a group-sex encounter, which would mean their partners violated Massachusetts state law regarding the age of consent. The average age of the first group-sex experience was 15.6.

"What's very telling about this study was what the researchers referred to as a 'strong association to pornography,' and some involved in group sex having 'been forced to do things that their sex partner saw in pornography,'" Tomeo said. "This shows just how strong of an influence media can be, especially in the lives of young people.

"I strongly agree with the researchers who also insist group sex among youth is an important public health topic," she added. "Indeed parents, educators, and others working with young people need to open their eyes and start dealing with the cause-and-effect relationship between the media consumed and the activities that follow. This is another wake-up call. If we don't teach our young people Godly and appropriate behavior, if we don't monitor their media consumption, it's blatantly obvious they will be formed by the culture. How many more studies do we need to show that it's not just another movie or a web site?"

Tomeo is the author of Extreme Makeover, published by Ignatius Press. She hosts radio shows.

 



Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

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