ONE THIRD OF Irish 18-year-olds have had sexual intercourse, according to the results of a major study.
The finding is contained in the latest round of research from the Growing Up in Ireland study. Detailed results from researchers taking part in the project will be revealed later, as Minister for Children Katherine Zappone launches the latest round of the study at Croke Park.
The latest information, published today, comes from interviews with 6,000 17/18-year-olds who have been participating in the study since 2007, when they were 9 years old.
As part of the research, the teenagers were asked a series of questions about their romantic and sexual experiences.
The study found:
- 40% of 17/18 years olds reported that they had had oral sex, while 33% reported that they had had sexual intercourse. Males were more likely to report being sexually active than females (45% compared to 39%).
- 56% of 17/18-year-olds who reported having had sexual intercourse also reported that they always used a condom, although a sizeable minority (11%) said they never used one.
- 13% of 17/18-year-olds said that they felt a little pressure and 4% said they felt a lot of pressure to have sex. 6% also said that they were afraid of losing a partner through not having sex with them.
The majority of 17/18-year-olds interviewed had consumed alcohol – 89%.
A minority (6%) said they drank 2-3 times per week, with 40% drinking 2-4 times per month and 48% monthly or less. In general, males tended to drink more often than females, the study found.
The vast majority of 17/18-year-olds in Ireland were found to be in good health, however obesity continues to be a problem.
In line with earlier rounds of the Growing Up in Ireland study (as well as with international trends) 20% were overweight and 8% of participants were obese.
Females were more likely to be overweight or obese than males – 31% compared to 26%.