I am on a continuing search for information about adolescents and anal sex. I recently ran across an article that suggests 25% of adolescent relationships include anal sex, with 10% including anal sex on a regular basis (Baldwin & Baldwin, 2000). Another article reports that 10% of the study participants (who were 18 – 21) had engaged in receptive anal intercourse, while 27% had engaged in insertive anal intercourse (Ompad, 2006).
What to think about this information? Well, more than anything else it suggests that the tried-and-true method of keeping adolescents from having anal sex (i.e., not mentioning it because then they won’t know about it) isn’t working. Adolescents are having anal sex, folks. Not as much as they’re having oral or vaginal sex, but nevertheless we cannot ignore these numbers. Anal sex can be dangerous and have serious long-term health implications. In addition to the high risk of STD transmission, there is a real risk of injury if care and lots of lube are not used.
So, while I know that in the current sex education climate getting educators to mention condoms in relation to vaginal intercourse is an uphill battle, I am stating my position here and now that we also need to talk to teenagers about safe anal intercourse. Not in over explicit ways, and not to 10-year-olds. But anal-sex information has its place in age-appropriate, information-based sex education. Because teenagers are already doing it.
Baldwin, J.I. & Baldwin, J.D. (2000). Heterosexual Anal Intercourse: An understudied, high-risk sexual behavior. Archives of sexual behavior, 29, (4): 357-373.
Ompad, D.C. (2006). Predictors of early initiation of vaginal and oral sex among urban young adults in Baltimore, Maryland. Archives Of Sexual Behavior. Archives of sexual behavior, 35 (1): 53-65.