A new analysis of the U.S. National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) has revealed some surprising shifts in the sexual activity of teenage girls over the past decade, including a significant spike among those who claim to have had same-sex contact.
A comparison of 2002 NSFG data to figures from 2006-2008 showed that 11 percent of 17-year-old girls in the latter pool had engaged in contact with other girls, compared with just five percent in 2002. Furthermore, those same girls also claim to have been significantly less heterosexually active, at just 46 percent in 2006-2008, whereas the 2002 survey found 63 percent of girls in the same age group had been active.
The decrease in heterosexual activity could, at least in part, account for another one of the survey's findings: a slight drop (18 percent to 12 percent) in the number of 17-year-girls who have been pregnant. "Factors that may account for this drop include our findings that more were waiting until later in adolescence to become heterosexually involved, more were using emergency contraception if they were heterosexually active, and perhaps even that more were engaging in same-sex behavior," Dr. Nanette Gartrell, NSFG lead author, is quoted as saying by the Windy City Times. "It will be interesting to see if the next cycle of NSFG data collection reveals whether these changes are a long-term trend."
The new analysis follows an October study conducted by Boise State University, which found that 60 percent of women who identify themselves as heterosexual have been sexually attracted to other women, while 50 percent confessed to having had same-sex fantasies. "Women are encouraged to be emotionally close to each other," Boise State University professor Elizabeth Morgan told LGBT Weekly at the time. "That provides an opportunity for intimacy and romantic feelings to develop."