As 2009 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect upon the time, money and efforts once again wasted upon sex-related facts we already know.
Perhaps what’s most ridiculous about these ’09 headlines is the very fact that some of these findings still need to be highlighted given unrelenting societal sexual inadequacies.
1. Youth see porn before age 18.
In a pornography-saturated world, it would be surprising if the opposite were true. But the Australian Institute of Criminology reported this well-known fact, highlighting that 84 percent of 16 to 17-year-old males had experienced inadvertent online exposure.
"Inadvertent" — really? This is almost palpable until you compare that stat to the girls: 60 percent have experienced online exposure to porn. A whole lot more appears to be going on with boys and maybe that’s worth researching.
2. Teens and young women having repeat abortions.
Britain’s Department of Health released figures showing that 20,247 women under 25 have had more than one abortion, with 5,000 of those female teenagers. This isn’t surprising when you consider that the U.K. has the highest teen pregnancy rate in all of Western Europe.
Deemed a failure of government policy, these heartbreaking statistics are largely due to people not receiving adequate sex education, including access to the information and services needed to protect themselves — to prevent pregnancy. Thankfully, Britain has announced legislation making sex education compulsory in all of its schools starting 2011.
3. Stress linked to sexual dysfunction and infertility.
Ask anybody suffering from either of these conditions and they can tell you just that -- they’re stressed. But University of California, Berkeley researchers decided to confirm this "missing piece of the puzzle." In all fairness, scientists showed exactly how the increase in stress hormones inhibits the body’s No. 1 sex hormone, the gonadotropin-releasing hormone. This, ultimately, suppresses ovulation, sperm count and sex drive.
4. Women still having satisfying sex as they age.
Between women’s sexual liberation and the Baby Boomer’s insatiable interest in sex, this finding was to be expected. But given the stereotype that elderly women aren’t into sex, it’s important to highlight this University of California at San Francisco study countering such.
Researchers surveyed 1,977 women between the ages of 45 to 80, finding that 57 percent were at least moderately sexually satisfied. What’s perhaps more interesting, though, is that two of the three most common reasons older women gave for not having sex had nothing to do with her.
Instead, the problems were a lack of partner and a lover’s physical problems. Naturally, those married or living with a partner tripled the chance of having sex on a weekly basis.
5. Link found between teen girls’ weight and risky sexual behaviors.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh confirmed that sexually active girls who were overweight, or who at least thought that they were, and those who were underweight were less likely to use condoms than sexually active girls of normal weight.
Given that weight and body image are closely intertwined and affect self-esteem, which impacts one’s relationships and sexual decision making, well, the domino effect here doesn't need to be spelled out. It’s been well-known for a while.
6. Sex talks happening way too late.
Anything that evokes fear, discomfort and great distress tends to get postponed. When it involves sex, it’s all the easier to put it off. So is it any wonder that a parent-child sex talk study published in "Pediatrics" found that more than 40 percent of teens have had intercourse before talking to their parents about safe sex, contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases?
"The results didn’t surprise me," Dr. Mark Schuster, one of the study’s authors, told Time magazine. Guess what? It didn’t surprise a lot of us, Dr. Schuster, especially given previous research efforts and literature reviews on this topic, like the one found in my parent-child sex communication dissertation.
7. Sexualized lyrics linked to higher levels of teen sex.
A study found that youths most exposed to songs containing strong sexual content are twice as likely to have had sex when compared to those with the least exposure to such lyrics. The research, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, focused on 711 ninth-graders who were exposed to more than 14 hours a week of lyrics describing degrading sex.
Admittedly, it’s interesting to see this long suspected influence get confirmed. Yet more eyebrow-raising would’ve been to inquire about the kind of sex these teens are having. Such findings could potentially be much more disturbing.
8. The size of his wallet matters.
Women go for men with money — really? A Newcastle University study’s findings are laughable until you hone in on its most interesting finding: Women derive more sexual pleasure from men earning bigger wages. The survey found that her orgasm is directly linked to his salary.
Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright is a sex educator, relationship expert, columnist and founder of Sexuality Source Inc. She is the author of several books including, "Touch Me There! A Hands-On Guide to Your Orgasmic Hot Spots."