Sexual Health Sexual Health Society
Publishing on sexual health from the widest perspective
RESEARCH ARTICLE

First vaginal intercourse and oral sex among a representative sample of Australian adults: the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships

Chris Rissel A I , Wendy Heywood B , Richard O. de Visser C , Judy M. Simpson D , Andrew E. Grulich E , Paul B. Badcock B F G , Anthony M. A. Smith B H and Juliet Richters E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Sydney School of Public Health, Charles Perkins Centre (D17), University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

B Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, 215 Franklin Street, Melbourne, Vic. 3000, Australia.

C School of Psychology, Pevensey 1, University of Sussex, Falmer BN1 9QH, UK.

D Sydney School of Public Health, Edward Ford Building (A27), University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

E The Kirby Institute, Wallace Wurth Building, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

F Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Orygen Youth Research Centre, 35 Poplar Road, Parkville, Vic. 3052, Australia.

G School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

H Deceased.

I Corresponding author. Email: chris.rissel@sydney.edu.au

Sexual Health 11(5) 406-415 https://doi.org/10.1071/SH14113
Submitted: 15 June 2014  Accepted: 5 August 2014   Published: 7 November 2014

Abstract

Background: Current information about the characteristics of Australian adults’ first vaginal intercourse and contraception or precautions used on that occasion is needed, as well as whether these characteristics have changed between 2001–02 and 2012–13. Methods: Computer-assisted telephone interviews were completed by a representative sample of 20 094 men and women aged 16–69 years. The overall participation rate among eligible people was 66.2%. Respondents indicated their age at first vaginal intercourse and first oral sex. Those who reported vaginal intercourse were asked the age of their partner, their relationship to their partner, the duration of this relationship, and what contraception or precautions (if any) were used. Results: There was a significant decline in the median age of first vaginal intercourse for both men and women among those born between the 1940s and the 1960s, but no further decline since. There has also been a significant increase in the use of protection at first vaginal intercourse, from less than 20% of men and women in the 1950s to over 90% in the 2000s. For men and women, first vaginal sex before age 16 years was significantly associated with a greater number of lifetime and recent sexual partners, and a greater likelihood of having had a sexually transmitted infection. Conclusion: Given the earlier age at first vaginal intercourse, sex education should begin earlier so that all young people have information about contraception and disease prevention before they begin their sexual careers.


References

[1]  Wellings K, Collumbien M, Slaymaker E, Singh S, Hodges Z, Patel D, et al Sexual behaviour in context: a global perspective. Lancet 2006; 368 1706–28.
Sexual behaviour in context: a global perspective.CrossRef | 17098090PubMed |

[2]  Bajos N, Bozon M, Beltzer N, Laborde C, Andro A, Ferrand M, et al Changes in sexual behaviours: from secular trends to public health policies. AIDS 2010; 24 1185–91.
Changes in sexual behaviours: from secular trends to public health policies.CrossRef | 20299962PubMed |

[3]  Hawes ZC, Wellings K, Stephenson J. First heterosexual intercourse in the United Kingdom: a review of the literature. J Sex Res 2010; 47 137–52.
First heterosexual intercourse in the United Kingdom: a review of the literature.CrossRef | 20358457PubMed |

[4]  Bozon M. At what age do women and men have their first sexual intercourse? World comparisons and recent trends. Popul Soc (Paris) 2003; 391 1–4.

[5]  Dickson N, Paul C, Herbison P, Silva P. First intercourse: age, coercion and later regrets reported by a birth cohort. BMJ 1998; 316 29–33.
First intercourse: age, coercion and later regrets reported by a birth cohort.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DyaK1c7htlSqsQ%3D%3D&md5=f6e111acaf0628449b650df140210a54CAS | 9451263PubMed |

[6]  Harrison A, Cleland J, Gouws E, Frohlich J. Early sexual debut among young men in rural South Africa: heightened vulnerability to sexual risk? Sex Transm Infect 2005; 81 259–61.
Early sexual debut among young men in rural South Africa: heightened vulnerability to sexual risk?CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DC%2BD2M3nvFyitA%3D%3D&md5=e5297c7462a263329ecaa6191c594025CAS | 15923298PubMed |

[7]  Rissel CE, Richters J, Grulich AE, de Visser RO, Smith AMA. Sex in Australia: first experiences of vaginal intercourse and oral sex among a representative sample of adults. Aust N Z J Public Health 2003; 27 131–7.
Sex in Australia: first experiences of vaginal intercourse and oral sex among a representative sample of adults.CrossRef | 14696703PubMed |

[8]  Kaplan DL, Jones EJ, Olson EC, Yunzal-Butler CB. Early age of first sex and health risk in an urban adolescent population. J Sch Health 2013; 83 350–6.
Early age of first sex and health risk in an urban adolescent population.CrossRef | 23517003PubMed |

[9]  Bozon M, Kontula O. Sexual initiation and gender in Europe: a cross-cultural analysis of trends in the twentieth century. In Hubert M, Bajos N, Sandfort T, editors. Sexual behaviour and HIV/AIDS in Europe. London: UCL Press; 1998. pp. 37–67.

[10]  Mercer CH, Wellings K, Macdowall W, Copas AJ, McManus S, Erens B, et al First sexual partnerships: age differences and their significance: empirical evidence from the 2000 British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (‘Natsal 2000’). J Adolesc Health 2006; 39 87–95.
First sexual partnerships: age differences and their significance: empirical evidence from the 2000 British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (‘Natsal 2000’).CrossRef | 16781966PubMed |

[11]  Grulich AE, de Visser RO, Smith AM, Rissel CE, Richters J. Sex in Australia: homosexual experience and recent homosexual encounters. Aust N Z J Public Health 2003; 27 155–63.
Sex in Australia: homosexual experience and recent homosexual encounters.CrossRef | 14696706PubMed |

[12]  Smith AMA, Agius P, Dyson S, Mitchell A, Pitts MK. Secondary students and sexual health 2002: results of the 3rd national survey of Australian secondary students, HIV/AIDS and sexual health. Melbourne: Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, La Trobe University; 2003.

[13]  Smith AMA, Agius P, Mitchell A, Barrett C, Pitts MK. Secondary students and sexual health 2008: results of the 4th national survey of Australian secondary students, HIV/AIDS and sexual health. Melbourne: Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, La Trobe University; 2009.

[14]  Agius PA, Pitts MK, Smith AMA, Mitchell A. Sexual behaviour and related knowledge among a representative sample of secondary school students between 1997 and 2008. Aust N Z J Public Health 2010; 34 476–81.
Sexual behaviour and related knowledge among a representative sample of secondary school students between 1997 and 2008.CrossRef | 21040175PubMed |

[15]  Wellings K, Nanchahal K, Macdowall W, McManus S, Erens B, Mercer CH, et al Sexual behaviour in Britain: early heterosexual experience. Lancet 2001; 358 1843–50.
Sexual behaviour in Britain: early heterosexual experience.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DC%2BD3MjgtVCmtQ%3D%3D&md5=c082e639fe286adffd2f92aa666df59eCAS | 11741623PubMed |

[16]  Mercer CH, Tanton C, Prah P, Erens B, Sonnenberg P, Clifton S, et al Changes in sexual attitudes and lifestyles in Britain through the life course and over time: findings from the National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal). Lancet 2013; 382 1781–94.
Changes in sexual attitudes and lifestyles in Britain through the life course and over time: findings from the National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal).CrossRef | 24286784PubMed |

[17]  Martinez G, Copen CE, Abma JC. Teenagers in the United States: sexual activity, contraceptive use, and childbearing, 2006–2010 National Survey of Family Growth. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2011.

[18]  Richters J, Badcock PB, Simpson JM, Shellard D, Rissel C, de Visser RO, et al Design and methods of the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships. Sex Health 2014; 11 383–96.
Design and methods of the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships.CrossRef |

[19]  Department of Health and Aged Care (DoHAC). Measuring remoteness: accessibility/ remoteness index of Australia (ARIA). Canberra: DoHAC; 2001.

[20]  Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Household income and income distribution, Australia 2009–10. Catalogue no. 6523.0. Canberra: ABS; 2011.

[21]  Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Australian standard classification of occupations, 2nd edn. Catalogue no. 1220.0. Canberra: ABS; 1997.

[22]  StataCorp. Stata statistical software: release11.2. College Station, TX: StataCorp LP; 2009.

[23]  Laumann E, Gagnon J, Michael R, Michaels S. The social organisation of sexuality: sexual practices in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1994.

[24]  Layte R, McGee H, Quail A, Rundle K, Cousins G, Donnelly C, et al. The Irish study of sexual health and relationships. Dublin: Crisis Pregnancy Agency and the Department of Health and Children; 2006.

[25]  Smith AM, Rissel CE, Richters J, Grulich AE, de Visser RO. Sex in Australia: the rationale and methods of the Australian Study of Health and Relationships. Aust N Z J Public Health 2003; 27 106–17.
Sex in Australia: the rationale and methods of the Australian Study of Health and Relationships.CrossRef | 14696700PubMed |

[26]  de Visser RO, Badcock PB, Simpson JM, Grulich AE, Smith AMA, Richters J, et al Attitudes towards sex and relationships: the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships. Sex Health 2014; 11 397–405.
Attitudes towards sex and relationships: the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships.CrossRef |

[27]  Office for National Statistics (ONS). Conceptions in England and Wales, 2010. London: ONS; 2012.

[28]  National Center for Health Statistics. National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief No. 89 Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2012.

[29]  Hamilton BE, Ventura SJ. Birth rates for U.S. teenagers reach historic lows for all age and ethnic groups. NCHS Data Brief no. 89. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics; 2012.

[30]  Eaton DK, Kann L, Kinchen S, Shanklin S, Flint KH, Hawkins J, et al Youth risk behavior surveillance: United States, 2011. MMWR Surveill Summ 2012; 61 1–162.
| 22673000PubMed |

[31]  Mitchell KR, Mercer CH, Ploubidis GB, Jones KG, Datta J, Field N, et al Sexual function in Britain: findings from the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3). Lancet 2013; 382 1817–29.
Sexual function in Britain: findings from the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3).CrossRef | 24286787PubMed |

[32]  Rapsey CM, Davidson OR, Schaughency E, Murachver T. Sexual competence at first sexual intercourse: factors associated with sexual competence in a sample of New Zealand tertiary students. Sex Health 2007; 4 309
Sexual competence at first sexual intercourse: factors associated with sexual competence in a sample of New Zealand tertiary students.CrossRef |



Rent Article (via Deepdyve) Export Citation Cited By (6)

View Altmetrics