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Teen Sex and the City — and the Country

If you believe shows like Gossip Girl, you'd think that city-dwelling teens were the randiest and most rebellious. But a recent story on Slate reminds us that teenagers in rural areas are often more sexually active.

According to the article:

Several studies have shown that rural teens are more likely to have sex than their urban counterparts, that they lose their virginity earlier, and that they have more sexual partners.

The story cites various statistics indicating that country-dwelling teens have higher rates of high-risk sexual behaviors, including sex with multiple partners and infrequent use of condoms.

I'm certainly no researcher, so I can't speak to the accuracy of the statistics. But anecdotally, I can say that I know plenty of people from both urban and rural backgrounds who were promiscuous in their teens. Teen sex certainly isn't limited to cities; in fact, it often seems like nonurban teens have more sex. What do you guys think? Did you grow up in the city or the country, and what was the attitude toward teen sex where you grew up?

Photos courtesy of The CW

Join The Conversation
darkangel2305 darkangel2305 9 years
There is this saying in Spanish "Pueblo pequeño, infierno grande", which translates roughly to "small town, big hell". Just because rural area *seem* more wholesome and safe, it doesnt mean they are.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
At the same time my hubby is from an urban area and there were tons of people who had kids as young teens. This place is a huge ghetto too so that could be it.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I grew up in a rural area and most of my friends weren't having sex at a young age. We just were really good kids because none of us really drank until senior year and no one had parties while their parents weren't home or anything like that. I know that after I left the town there were quite a few girls who were younger than me that had babies at a young age. I know that things certainly changed. I'm only 23 so it's not like I'm talking about the 70s here. It doesn't surprise me that rural kids have more sex because there really isn't anything to do sometimes. I also think that parents are less strict and since everyone knows everyone they aren't concerned with where their kids are all the time.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 9 years
I grew up in the burbs and most of my friends were virgins until at least senior year and sometimes college. I never really thought of having sex as a teenager as a big deal though - if you're ready and careful, why not?
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 9 years
I would think more people would have sex in the country because there's nothing to do friends and I live in the 'burbs and most of my friends are virgins or were virgins until 18 years old.
emalove emalove 9 years
This doesn't surprise me at all.
Silverlining10 Silverlining10 9 years
Hmm...I've lived in the suburbs, a tiny country town, and the city, and I think the level of promiscuity is sort of similar. However, I just don't understand how kids from the country have more partners than kids from the city. I personally don't think there are enough men! I lived in a small suburb in Texas, and all the girls dated the same 10 guys at our high school! Then, I went to live in LA, and girls had hundreds of more guys to choose from! I dunno... From my experience...The poorer you are, the earlier you start having sex. I think it's about boredom and the environment they were raised (i.e. single-income families, parents never married/divorced, mother/father is young). I think the richer one is, the choosier and more elitist one is in picking partners. Of course, I'm only speaking of kids in middle school and high school. After high school, I think college kids are more promiscuous than kids that are raising families or working full-time, regardless of family income.
Bookish Bookish 9 years
It was true in my rural area. Most of the kids around me were having sex when I was a teenager. Of course, combined with abstinence-only education and low incomes (so little money for birth control, and the nearest Planned Parenthood 200 miles away) made for a lot of STDs and teenage pregnancies, too.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
true passtimes that took place out in the country where i lived for 9 years. -Throwing cats off the bridge -stealing cars -stealing 4 wheelers and throwing them off the bridge -dying (in one year alone , my freshmen year we lost 10 students to "accidental shootings" and car wrecks (big thing was to drive around at night without headlights on) -letting all the air out of the tires of the school buses -robbing the corner store, in one instance a teen robbed the store....that his parents own -and of course lots of sex in the back of cars, barns, heck right on the ground.
sundaygreen sundaygreen 9 years
i was a teen ten years ago, but i can say that only a handful of my girlfriends were sexually active (probably less than a handful! and even then it was with serious boyfriends) and sex was a really big deal until we all hit 17/18.
havok636 havok636 9 years
i come from a fairly rural town, and believe me, when's there's nothing to do on a friday night, guys and girls find ways to entertain themselves. i went to more baby showers than graduation parties in high school
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
I grew up in the burbs and lived in a very conservative area. Most of my friends waited to lose their virginities until they were in college. I am not sure that lack of options for activities causes people to choose sex. I mean, in the burbs, we had movies, bowling and that's about it. I think it has much more to do with education and income and seeing what others around you do.
LadyAngel89 LadyAngel89 9 years
This reminds me entirely too much of exactly what I have to tell everyone when they say "you're nothing like I expected you to be". Just because I'm from a rural community does not mean I have a child on each breast, barefoot, and livin' it up in the trailer park. It is true there are a lot more young pregnancies in rural areas... but the closest planned parenthoot clinic is probably 4 hours from where I live. As a general rule of thumb, "When you have more options.... you use more options" especially when it comes to jobs, money, and life-altering choices. Not to mention when you're living off 600 dollars a month, the big fat welfare check having a child would entitle them to in rural areas with low income ratios start coming into play (and it's not only the young pregnant women who think that). I hate it but it's oh so true, if I (as a college grad) made money comperable to those in my field in a larger city, I wouldn't have been as concerned with finding a significant other and having a dual income household when I was still in High School.
jackandjlin jackandjlin 9 years
I think this is definitely true. I grew up in a pretty rural area & we definitely have to look for exciting things to do, so I guess it makes sense that as horny teenagers we choose sex and booze. I once heard someone make the comment that high schools in the north focus on college prep & SAT scores and high schools in the south focus on football & procreating.
divinelight divinelight 9 years
I was the same way CaterpillarGirl! Lived in the country but went to private school in the city. They had the same amount of sex. The only huge difference I saw between their lifestyles is the access the city kids had to drugs.
brittanyk brittanyk 9 years
I grew up in a rural area. Pretty much everyone I know was having sex in high school. There wasn't much else to do. Get drunk. Party. Have sex. It was the norm, sadly. I was lucky in some ways, because I always worked Friday and Saturday night, so I always just wanted to go home and sleep instead of going out and partying and what not.
aeschere aeschere 9 years
i second what brielle said :) i'm from rural areas... and thankfully i didn't partake until i was ready! much much later than most people in my grade..
brielleblonde brielleblonde 9 years
From looking at my friends and where they are all from, I can defiantly tell people living in rural areas have no activities to do, except drink and have sex. Plus they are more likely have lower incomes then kids in the city, meaning less money will be spent towards birth control... Plus if people in the city get knocked up there are more resources and money for abortions or adoptions then people in rural areas.
k-squared k-squared 9 years
You know, Smallville could have been a sexier show had Clark not been so scared to break Lana in half when trying to get in her pants.
bbkf bbkf 9 years
I grew up in a very very rural area, and we all had sex early and often. However, my friends who grew up in a city know more girls who got pregnant or got STDs in highschool than I do.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I had a unique perspective on this phenomena. I lived in the country but traveled an hour and a half each day to go to private school in the city and statistically the kids in the country werent having any more sex than the kids in the city, BUT for some reason the country kids were all getting knocked up more.
caryatid caryatid 9 years
well what else are you going to do in the country? ;)
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