Sexuality and U
mice

Sexual Health

  • Text Size

Statistics on Sexual Intercourse Experience Among Canadian Teenagers

Trends in Sexual Intercourse Experience Among Canadian Teens

Several large-scale studies provide data on the percentage of Canadian teens who have experienced sexual intercourse at least once. These include Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey, the British Columbia Adolescent Health Survey and the Health of Canada’s Young People survey. Because these surveys have been repeated over a number of years using similar samples, they also allow us to observe trends in the percentages of Canadian youth who have experienced sexual intercourse.

Most Canadian youth will have their first experience of sexual intercourse at some point during their teenage years. In the most recent Canadian Community Health Survey 2009/2010), in response to the question “Have you ever had sexual intercourse?” 30% of 15 to 17 year-olds and 68% of 18 to 19 year-olds reported that they had had intercourse (Roterman, 2012). In sum, while less than half of Canadian teens report having intercourse before age 18, more than two-thirds do so before age 20. When these data are added to data from previous cycles of the Canadian Community Health Survey we can see that the percentages of Canadian young people in the 15 to 17 and 18 to 19 year-old age groups who reported ever having sexual intercourse remained remarkably stable from 1996/1997 to 2009/2010 (Rotermann, 2012, 2008) (Table 1). 

Table 1: Percentage of Canadian Youth Aged 15-17, 18-19 Reporting Ever Having Sexual Intercourse, 1996/1997, 2003, 2005, 2009/2010

Age Group

1996/1997

2003

2005

2009/2010

15-17

32%

30%

29%

30%

18-19

70%

68%

65%

68%

Rotermann, M. (2008). Trends in teen sexual behaviour and condom use. Health Reports, 19, (3), 1-5. Rotermann, M. (2012). Sexual behaviour and condom use of 15- to 24-year-olds in 2003 and 2009/2010.  Health Reports, 23, (1), 1-5.

The British Columbia Adolescent Health Surveys (McCreary Centre Society, 2009; Saewyc, Taylor, Homma & Ogilvie, 2008) include data on the percentage of male and female adolescents in Grades 7 to 12 (ages 12 to 17+) who reported ever having had sexual intercourse in 1992, 1998, 2003 and 2008. These data indicate stable to declining percentages of youth who had experienced intercourse between the time periods of 1992 and 1998, with the percentages remaining stable thereafter (Table 2). The results indicate that the percentage of both males and females in grades 7 to 12 who had ever had intercourse declined between 1992 and 2008.

Table 2: BC Adolescent Health Survey: Percentages Of Male and Female Youth In Grades 7 To 12 Who Report Ever Having Intercourse, 1992, 1998, 2003, 2008

 

1992

1998

2003

2008

Male

33.9%

24.9%

23.3%

22.0%

Female

28.6%

23.0%

24.3%

22.0%

Sources: Saewyc, Taylor, Homma & Ogilvie. (2008). Trends in sexual health and risk behaviours among adolescent students in British Columbia. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 17 (1/2), 1-14. McCreary Centre Society. (2009). A Picture of Health: Highlights from the 2008 British Columbia Adolescent Health Survey. Vancouver, BC: McCreary Centre Society.

The Health of Canada’s Young People: A Mental Health Focus presents the findings of the 2009/2010 cycle of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study (Freeman, King, Pickett, Craig, Elgar, Janssen, & Klinger, 2011). For the period 2002 to 2010, the percentage of Grade 9 and 10 males and females who had ever had sexual intercourse increased slightly.

Table 3: The Health of Canada’s Young People: A Mental Health Focus: Approximate Percentages off Grade 9 and 10 Males and Females Who Report Ever Having Had Intercourse, 2002, 2006, 2010

 

2002

2006

2010

Male Grade 9

20%

20%

24%

Female Grade 9

18%

19%

19%

Male Grade 10

27%

25%

31%

Female Grade 10

25%

27%

31%

Source: Freeman et al. (2011). The Health of Canada’s Young People: A Mental Health Focus. Ottawa, ON: Public Health Agency of Canada.

Summary

Three on-going, large sample, Canadian studies have collected data on the percentages of Canadian youth who report ever experiencing sexual intercourse. Two of these studies first collected data on youth intercourse experience in 1992 (B.C. Adolescent Health Survey) or 1996 (Canadian Community Health Survey) and two reported data collected as recently as 2010 (Canadian Community Health Survey; Health of Canada’s Young People). Several conclusions can be drawn from these three studies. First, from the early/mid 1990’s to the mid 2000’s, the percentage of both male and female teens who reported ever having experienced sexual intercourse declined. Second, between the mid 2000’s and 2010 the percentages of youth who reported ever having intercourse remained stable for some groups (e.g., Grade 9 females, 15-17 year-olds) and increased slightly for others (e.g., Grade 10 males and females, 18-19 year-olds). Third, overall, the available data indicate the percentage of male and female teens in Canada who reported ever having sexual intercourse declined between the early/mid 1990’s and 2010.        

References

Freeman, J.G., King, M., Pickett, W., Craig, W., Elgar, F., Janssen, I. & Klinger, D. (2011). The Health of Canada’s Young People: A Mental Health Focus. Ottawa, ON: Public Health Agency of Canada.

McCreary Centre Society. (2009). A Picture of Health: Highlights from the 2008 British Columbia Adolescent Health Survey. Vancouver, BC: McCreary Centre Society.

Rotermann, M. (2008). Trends in teen sexual behaviour and condom use. Health Reports, 19, (3), 1-5.

Rotermann, M. (2012). Sexual behaviour and condom use of 15- to 24-year-olds in 2003 and 2009/2010.  Health Reports, 23, (1), 1-5.

Saewyc, Taylor, Homma & Ogilvie. (2008). Trends in sexual health and risk behaviours among adolescent students in British Columbia. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 17 (1/2), 1-14.