In this article, to examine how attitudes and educational experiences might influence sexual behavior, we analyze three cohorts of unmarried metropolitan teenage males: those aged 17-19 in 1979, in 1988 and in 1995. These time frames capture a period of increasing (1979 to 1988) then decreasing (1988 to 1995) sexual activity. What might account for these shifts in sexual behavior? Changes in teenagers' behavior may be related to shifts in their attitudes about sex and pregnancy, reflecting changes in broader societal norms about sexual behavior. Alternately, public concern about AIDS, STDs and adolescent pregnancy, which has resulted in heightened levels of education around these issues, may have played a role in reducing sexual activity. By examining time periods with reversing trends, we have a relatively strong framework within which to understand factors related to both increased and decreased sexual activity. (Author abstract, modified).
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