Healthy settings for young people in Canada – Sexual activity
Twenty-two percent of students in Grades 9 and 10 report having had sexual intercourse by the time of the survey (Figure 4.25). Four percent of boys and 2% of girls report first having sex when they were 12 years old or younger, 17% of boys and 19% of girls when they were between 13 and 15 years old, and 1% when they were 16 years or older.
Around a fifth of students in Grade 9 (19% of boys and 18% of girls) and a quarter of students in Grade 10 (25% of boys and 27% of girls) report having had sexual intercourse (Figure 4.26).
The proportion of students who have had sexual intercourse has not changed since the 2002 survey (Figure 4.27).
Four-fifths of boys in Grades 9 and 10 report using a condom the last time they had sexual intercourse (Figure 4.28). Fewer girls, however, report condom use at last sexual intercourse. More girls in Grade 9 report condom use (75%) than those in Grade 10 (69%).
Based on Grade 9 and 10 students’ reports of the method of contraception they used the last time they had sexual intercourse, it is clear that condoms are the most popular contraceptive method of these young people (Figures 4.29 and 4.30). Interestingly, students’ reports of using a condom the last time they had sexual intercourse are much lower (see Figure 4.28). It is possible that students’ intentions for condom use are to protect themselves from infection rather than to prevent pregnancy.
The use of birth control pills is the second contraceptive method reported by students. Thirty-six percent of Grade 9 girls and 33% of Grade 10 girls indicate using birth control pills, while 26% of Grade 9 boys and 25% of Grade 10 boys indicate that their female sexual partners use birth control pills.
It is interesting to note that, similar to the 2002 survey (not shown), withdrawal is still practiced by students in both grades, particularly by girls, despite education campaigns against this method. One in ten girls report withdrawal as the method of contraception the last time they had sexual intercourse (Figures 4.29 and 4.30).
Notably, between 37 and 46% of students in both grades report that no method was used specifically for contraceptive purposes.
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