Teenage girls pressured into unwanted sex
More than 40 percent of a group of teenage girls studied by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers reported being pressured into unwanted sex, increasing their risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
The IU team, led by Dr. Margaret J. Blythe, a professor of pediatrics, interviewed 279 girls ages 14 to 17 over a period of 27 months. The researchers asked the girls, who were receiving primary health care at three Indianapolis clinics serving areas with high rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, about their relationships and sexual behavior. They reported that 114 of the girls, or 40.9 percent, said they had been pressured into sex they did not want, most often because they feared their partner would get angry if denied sex. Ten percent said they had been forced to have sex at least once.
The study also indicated that unwanted sex was more likely to occur in relationships of longer duration, when the woman had had a baby with the particular partner, in relationships in which condoms were used less frequently, when the girl felt she had less control of the sexual relationship and when either partner used marijuana.
"Unwanted sex is a common aspect of adolescent women's sexual relationships, and we need to pay attention to the complex relationship factors involved as part of understanding the risks associated with unwanted sex," said Blythe.
Unwanted sex refers to increasing degrees of incentive, pressure or threat used by one partner to obtain sex that is unwanted by the other partner. Those people who want to reduce the number of unwanted sexual encounters between young people must clarify the meaning of pressure and teach young people to be more effective communicators, the authors wrote.
The study was reported in the June issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. The research was supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health.