Early sexual experiences of teenage heterosexual males in Australia: A cross-sectional survey

Eric P.F. Chow, Rebecca Wigan, Anna McNulty, Charlotte Bell, Mandy Johnson, Lewis Marshall, David G. Regan, Louise Owen, Julia M.L. Brotherton, Catriona S. Bradshaw, Christopher K. Fairley, Darren Russell, Marcus Y. Chen

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Objective There are limited data on the patterns of early sexual behaviours among Australian teenage heterosexual boys. This study describes the nature and onset of early sexual experiences in this population through a cross-sectional survey. Design A cross-sectional survey between 2014 and 2015 Setting Major sexual health clinics and community sources across Australia Participants Heterosexual men aged 17-19 years Results There were 191 men in the study with a median age of 19.1 years. Median age at first oral sex was 16.4 years (IQR: 15.5-17.7) and 16.9 years (IQR: 16.0-18.0) for first vaginal sex. Most men had engaged in oral sex (89.5%) and vaginal sex (91.6%) in the previous 12 months with 32.6% reporting condom use at last vaginal sex. Of the total lifetime female partners for vaginal sex reported by men as a group (n=1187): 54.3% (n=645) were the same age as the man, 28.3% (n=336) were a year or more younger and 17.4% (n=206) were a year or more older. Prior anal sex with females was reported by 22% with 47% reporting condom use at last anal sex. Median age at first anal sex was 18.2 years (IQR: 17.3-18.8). Anal sex with a female was associated with having five or more lifetime female sexual partners for oral and vaginal sex. Conclusions These data provide insights into the trajectory of sexual behaviours experienced by teenage heterosexual boys following sexual debut, findings which can inform programme promoting sexual health among teenage boys.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere016779
Number of pages6
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • adolescent
  • first sex
  • heterosexual
  • Sexual behaviours
  • sexual trajectory
  • teenage

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