A study of New York City teens found something disturbing: kids who had sex with both the same and with opposite sex partners were more likely to take sexual risks or be the victims of dating violence than were other teens.
As the authors write:
"Adolescents with both-sex partners reported a marked prevalence of dating violence and forced sex. Many adolescents with only same- or both-sex partners (38.9%) self-identified as straight...Of sexually active adolescents, 9.3% reported a same-sex partner, a higher estimate than other published rates. Those who reported both male and female partners reported behaviors that placed them at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV."
Clearly this is a limited sample of teens in one specific area--New York City--and it can't be generalized to teens around the country. But if these findings are accurate, they are concerning.
Why would bisexual teens, or teens who don't call themselves bisexual, but who are involved with both genders be at greater risk? Here are some possibilities:
- They are dealing with self esteem issues common to a lot of GLBT teens that make them feel like they aren't worth protecting or which make it hard for them to insist on safe sex.
- Some of these kids may actually be gay or lesbian and are dating opposite sex partners as a "cover," which makes they less able to have an honest and safe relationship.
- Kids who identify as straight may not realize that same sex sex can also be risky.
There are probably many other reasons and getting to the heart of these will be an important step in helping protect all sexually active teens.