Birds do it, bees do it, but a growing number of teens are choosing not to do it.
Abstinence is on the rise among teenagers in the United States, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.
The report, based on interviews conducted between 2006 and 2008 with 13,500 men and women between the ages of 15 to 44, found that almost a third of all 15- to 24-year olds had never had any sort of sexual contact with another person.
When it came to males in that age group, 27 per cent had not any sexual contact with another person, up from 22 per cent from 2002. For females, the number was 29 per cent, also up from 22 per cent.
Anjani Chandra, a health scientist at the NCHS and lead author of the study, told MSNBC the report is proof that teens aren't just abstaining from intercourse while engaging in other sexual activity.
"I think a lot of people misconstrue this as meaning they've never had vaginal sex. But this is no sexual contact of any kind. They didn't have oral sex or anal sex. They didn't have anything."
Why are increasing numbers of young people abstaining? Ms. Chandra said it might be due to sex education and messages about abstinence. The increase might also depend on the truthfulness of the respondents, she said.