OBJECTIVE. The present study examined whether adolescents’ initial consequences of sexual activity differ according to type of sexual activity and gender.

METHODS. Surveys were administered to 618 adolescents recruited from 2 public high schools in the autumn of ninth grade (2002) and at 6-month intervals until the spring of tenth grade (2004). Analyses were limited to the 275 adolescents (44%) who reported engaging in oral sex and/or vaginal sex at any assessment. Participants were 14 years of age at study entry, 56% female, and of diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds.

RESULTS. In comparison with adolescents who engaged in oral sex and/or vaginal sex, adolescents who engaged only in oral sex were less likely to report experiencing a pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection, feeling guilty or used, having their relationship become worse, and getting into trouble with their parents as a result of sex. Adolescents who engaged only in oral sex were also less likely to report experiencing pleasure, feeling good about themselves, and having their relationship become better as a result of sex. Boys were more likely than girls to report feeling good about themselves, experiencing popularity, and experiencing a pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection as a result of sex, whereas girls were more likely than boys to report feeling bad about themselves and feeling used.

CONCLUSIONS. Adolescents experience a range of social and emotional consequences after having sex. Our findings have implications for clinical practice and public health campaigns targeted toward youth.

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