Young gay sexual minority men—especially Black and Latino youth—have their first sexual experiences at younger ages, emphasizing a need for comprehensive and inclusive sex education, according to Rutgers researchers.
The study, published in the Journal of Sex Research, examined consensual sex behaviors to better understand same-sex sexual debut, or the age at which people first engage in sexual behaviors.
The researchers, part of the Rutgers School of Public Health’s Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies (CHIBPS), found that 19 percent of participants had their first sexual experience before the age of 13.
The researchers also found that same-sex sexual encounters first happen, on average, at 14.5 years, with Hispanic/Latinx and Black non-Hispanic participants reporting a younger age for their first time performing oral sex or engaging in anal sex, compared to their peers.
Earlier age of sexual debut among sexual minority men is associated with a range of sexual and health risk behaviors, including increased likelihood of condomless sex; tobacco, alcohol, and other substance use; psychological distress; suicidality; and earlier age of HIV diagnosis.
[…] “As many schools are forced to redesign their classrooms and curricula to accommodate socially distanced or remote learning for COVID-19, this may be the perfect time to consider implementing comprehensive sex education programming to provide age-appropriate sexual health education for people of all genders and sexual orientations,” said Caleb LoSchiavo, doctoral student at the Rutgers School of Public Health and co-author.