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Differences in sexual behavior, health, and history of child abuse among school students who had and had not engaged in sexual activity by the age of 18 years: a cross-sectional study

Authors Kastbom A, Sydsjö G, Bladh M, Priebe G, Svedin CG

Received 31 August 2015

Accepted for publication 8 October 2015

Published 8 January 2016 Volume 2016:7 Pages 1—11


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Steven Youngentob

Åsa A Kastbom,1,2 Gunilla Sydsjö,3 Marie Bladh,3 Gisela Priebe,4,5 Carl Göran Svedin2

1Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Linköping University Hospital, 2Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Medical Faculty, Linköping University, Linköping, 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Medical Faculty, Linköping University, Linköping, 4Department of Psychology, Linnæus University, Växjö, 5Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

Background: Empirical research about late sexual debut and its consequences is limited, and further research is needed.
Objective: To explore how students who had not had intercourse by the age of 18 years differed in terms of sociodemographic factors, physical and psychological health, sexual behavior, and history of sexual abuse from those who had.
Materials and methods: This is a cross-sectional survey involving 3,380 Swedish 18-year-olds. Descriptive analyses were used to investigate different types of sexual behavior. Ordinal data concerning alcohol consumption, self-esteem, sexual and physical abuse, parental relationships, sense of coherence, and health were analyzed, and multiple regression was carried out to identify the most important factors associated with no sexual debut.
Results: Just under a quarter of the adolescents had not had oral, anal, or vaginal sex by the age of 18 years, and they comprised the index group. They were characterized by being more likely to have caring fathers, parents born outside Europe, lower pornography consumption, lower alcohol and tobacco consumption, less antisocial behavior, and above all lower sexual desire (sometimes, adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 3.8; never/seldom, aOR 13.3) and fewer experiences of sexual abuse (aOR 25.5). Family structure and culture matters when it comes to the age of sexual debut.
Conclusion: Adolescents with no sexual debut at 18 years of age seemed to live a more stable and cautious life than more sexual experienced peers, exemplified by fewer antisocial acts, less smoking and alcohol/drug consumption, less sexual desire, and less experience of sexual abuse.

Keywords: adolescents, sexual abuse, sexual behavior, late sexual debut

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