Teens in romantic relationships less delinquent

While the merits of teen sex education have been debated across the country, one new study has found that there may be a link between committed relationships among teenagers and a lower level of delinquency.

Assistant professor of psychology Paige Harden explains that adolescents who have a girlfriend or boyfriend are less likely to engage in risky behaviors, because they spend less time with their friends and more time with their partner. So while they may be having sex, they aren't necessarily doing anything illegal.

"It can be difficult for researchers to understand how dating experiences in adolescence influence behavior because there can be pre-existing differences between teenagers who date versus those who don't," Harden explained.

The researchers discovered that family factors tended to influence the development of teens' sexual health. While genes seemed to influence sexual activity among teens when they were younger (13-16), it seems that the background of older teens was more influential to their development.

"We found that when we compared unrelated people, teens who did better in school delayed having sex," Harden says. "But if you compare twins raised in the same family, the difference in academic achievement doesn't predict the age at first sex."

No matter the circumstance or environment, the one thing to remember when engaging in sex is to protect against common STDs and pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that one of the most effective ways to do so is to use a condom each time you have intercourse. One easy way to get condoms without too much of a hassle is to order them online. The internet can additionally be a great resource for learning more about contraceptives – from how to use a condom to other safer sex practices.  

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