About a quarter of black boys in urban areas have had sex before the age of 13, a shocking new study finds.
Researchers said that between eight and 12 percent of all boys had sex before they turned 13, but it was much higher in city centers.
While the boys had different attitudes to sexual intercourse, nearly 40 percent said they had & # 39; mixed feelings & # 39; about their first sexual experience and about 10 percent said it was undesirable.
Some boys reported being forced or pressured by their peers to have sex before they were ready.
The team, led by Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, says the findings indicate that there is a need for early access to sex education, sexual health clinics, and mental health facilities for boys and teens in the downtown area.
A new study by Johns Hopkins Medicine has shown that nearly 50 percent of African-American boys who had sex before the age of 13 had no & # 39; mixed feelings & # 39; wanted or had about (file image)
In the US, the average age at which both men and women report sex for the first time is around 17.
Previous studies have shown that having sexual intercourse before the age of 13 is linked to a higher risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), as well as other behavioral issues such as substance use and truancy.
For the study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, the team collected data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the National Survey of Family Growth from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The first survey looks at six categories of health-related behavior that lead to death and disability in adolescents and young adults, and the second studies family life, pregnancy, contraception and infertility in American men and women.
Researchers focused on the age at which men first reported having sex and their attitude to experience.
Among black men, nearly 25 percent – and mostly in urban areas such as San Francisco and Memphis – said they first had sex before the age of 13.
About 55 percent said they wanted it to happen at the time. Meanwhile, 37 percent said they had mixed feelings about their first sexual experience and eight percent said they didn't want it to happen at all.
& # 39; Young men who have sex before 13 years do not usually receive the right sex education and services, and we need a better system to meet their needs & # 39 ;, said senior author Dr. Arik Marcell, university associate professor of pediatrics, Johns Hopkins.
& # 39; The cultural double standard about sexual behavior in the US, where it is good that young boys, but not girls, are sexually active has prevented us from effectively tackling the vulnerabilities of male adolescents and their healthy sexual development. & # 39;
Currently, only 24 US states and the District of Columbia require schools to provide sex education.
Although these classes are usually taught between sixth and twelfth grade, the level of education may vary depending on the school and region.
According to a 2014 study by the Guttmacher Institute, fewer than half of all US high schools had a sex education program that all 16 CDC-recognized & # 39; critical sexual education theme & # 39; s & # 39; included.
This includes the effectiveness of condoms, how HIV and other STDs are transmitted and the importance of limiting the number of sexual partners.
& # 39; I have heard boys and adolescents talk about their first sexual encounters in a way that suggests they did not expect, understand or know what was going on and what was appropriate and what was not, & # 39; said Dr. Marcell.
& # 39; I was concerned that such early sex experiences that happen to boys can be undesirable and affect their future health. & # 39;
For future studies, the team wants to see how the age at which men first have sex influences future sexual experiences.
In an accompanying editorial, Dr. David Bell and Dr. Samantha Garbers of the Pediatric Department of Columbia University Medical Center in New York City have called for more mental health care for boys and teens when it comes to sex.
& # 39; It is crucial to involve young men in self-reflection about the real pressure that American society is exerting on them and affecting their overall health and well-being, & # 39; they write.
& # 39; All discussions related to pressure must include topics about & # 39; what it means to be a man & ask questions and permission. With the support of caring adults … boys can achieve healthier milestones without ambivalence or social risk. & # 39;
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