Another interesting trend may be on the rise among teen girls—sexual contact with other girls. In a comparison of data from 2002, a new analysis of the U.S. National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) from 2006-2008, found that 17-year-old girls were significantly less likely to have been heterosexually active (63% v. 46%) but more than twice as likely to have had same-sex contact (5% v. 11%).
While this trend likely explains why these same girls were less likely to be pregnant (18% v. 12%). The fact that this group of teens was also more than three times as likely to have used emergency contraception (5% v. 17%) doesn’t quite fit the same-sex contact finding. But the drop in the percentage of 17-year-old girls who had ever been pregnant does, although this stat could also mean girls are waiting longer to engage in heterosexual activity.
Given the small sample size in this study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior—roughly 200 teen girls—the researchers say that more data is needed to determine whether this is a trend that is expected to continue, and what factors may have contributed to the change within the four-year span. They do note, though, that fluidity in sexual behavior and orientation is particularly common among young women and this finding may be an example of just that.
I think it’s also possible that girls may be more open to admitting same-sex contact now, as the idea has become increasingly less taboo within a very short period of time. Plus the percentage of girls who engaged in same-sex contact was still quite low.
What do you think about the idea that girls may be having more same-sex contact?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.