Study Shows Disturbing Trends in Group Sex Amongst Urban Teens

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In mainstream media, the line between art and porn is blurred.

In a preliminary study, researchers have seen disturbing trends in teen sexual behavior amongst the urban poor, where a number of teenage girls they surveyed engaged in “multiple-person sex” – and were often forced or coerced.

Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and Boston University School of Public Health, among others, surveyed teenage girls aged 14 to 20 who went to clinics in schools and communities in the Boston area. One in 13 reported having engaged in a group-sex experience – anything ranging from an orgy or three-way, to a “train” or group sex.

The average age for a first-time “multi-person sex” experience (or MPS, as the researchers call it) was 15.6 years old. Out of the 7.7 percent of respondents who’ve have a multi-person sex experience, over half were forced, pressured, or coerced to do it.

Even though the research was conducted in Boston, Massachusetts, people in other urban areas should take notice. “I’d be surprised if this behavior is unique to Boston,” said Emily Rothman, associate professor of community health sciences at Boston University’s School of Public Health. “In Philadelphia, my expectation is you’d find the same thing.”

Age, race, and place of birth did not factor into the likelihood that a girl had engaged in multi-person sex, she said. All of the respondents were urban teens living in poor neighborhoods, who went to clinics for their reproductive health issues. Rothman said there was a bigger factor that increased the likelihood of a multi-person sex encounter.

“Girls were five times more likely to engage in MPS if they or their boyfriends had watched porn,” she said.

Out of all the 328 respondents, 11 percent “were forced to do sexual things their boyfriend saw in porn,” Rothman said. “Out of those who engaged in MPS, 50 percent did things their partners saw in porn first. Porn may be influencing the sexual behavior of these teens.”

Rothman says she and her fellow researchers saw some trends that alarmed them. For one, the average age of a first-reported multi-person sex experience was under the legal age of consent in Massachusetts, which is 16. For another thing, more than half of girls who engaged in some kind of group sex situation “were pressured or coerced into a gang rape – or a boyfriend would ask them to do a three-way,” Rothman said.

About one-third had used alcohol or drugs immediately prior to the experience – less than Rothman had expected, she said.

The researchers noticed a strong correlation between dating violence and pornography use, and they also noticed that out of the girls who’d engaged in MPS, “in 45 percent, or nearly half, of those encounters, at least one male did not use a condom.”

That means that MPS is a high-risk activity, which is worrisome, because recent studies have shown that about 30 percent of males aged 13 to 19 who report having heterosexual anal sex have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, she said.

This study shows that more research needs to be done about how watching pornography influences teen decision-making when it comes to sex and relationships. Rothman says she’s applying for a grant to look more deeply into the relationship between porn and dating violence. She wants to look at “Gonzo porn, which is an increasingly available and very violent type of porn, and how that’s shaping adolescent decision-making.”

Porn is increasingly accessible to teens on the internet, but it’s not their first encounter with graphic, sexualized images. After all, the entertainers who teens look up to the most are nearly-naked, gyrating singers that people today consider as wholesome as apple pie, who are worshiped by talk show hosts as gods. It’s a question worth asking ourselves as a society.

“I don’t want to comment without data from other studies,” Rothman says, ever a cautious scientist. “But we need to know more about how adolescents’ and children’s experiences are shaped by hyper-sexualized images they see on regular TV and ads. It’s a worthwhile question.”

9 Responses to “ Study Shows Disturbing Trends in Group Sex Amongst Urban Teens ”

  1. Gill Bates says:

    Why is this disturbing? As long as nobody ios forced – do whatever you want. The whole negative sex attitude and skewed interpretation of the “facts” seems like somebody was just trying to put their own POV out as a study.

  2. Gill, please read b4 commenting. It is disturbing because (1) most are beginning this activity too young, (2) are being forced into this practice, and (3) are engaging in very risky and unsafe practices.

  3. chics playing scrabble says:

    “multi-person” sex should not include rape..it is not sex. It is rape, meaning non-consensual.

  4. bobbarker says:

    Definition of rape: “the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.”

    Rape is a form of sex, albeit a particularly nasty one. A square is a rectangle. You can’t change what a word means to fit your agenda.

  5. Dee Kowalsky says:

    What bothers me the most from this study are those 11% of the girls surveyed who said they were forced to commit sexual acts their boyfriend saw in porn.

    As someone who has seen what goes on in hard-core porn websites (my ex was addicted to Internet porn), I shudder when I think of some of the things these girls were coerced into doing.

    However, I disagree with “bobbarker” who says that rape is just another form of sex. It isn’t. Rape is a crime of violence where as sex is neither a crime nor is it (necessarily) violent.

  6. Baldheaded Dude says:

    These statistics are very disturbing but we have to stop treating females of all ages as angelic victims. They chose to be in these situations more often than not and need to take responsibility for their behavior. We need to accept that reality that some of these girls just aren’t that wholesome.

  7. [...] for teenage girls, disturbing report reveals” bit pulled its quotes from. That piece, “Study Shows Disturbing Trends in Group Sex Amongst Urban Teens” (published December 17, 2011) is here… but the text is also [...]

  8. Sam says:

    Baldheaded Child Rape Apologist, the article says these children are frequently forced. A decent human being would demand that the boys and men who used force should take responsibility for their sexual abuse with therapy and/or jail.

  9. Lorena Bobbitt says:

    Men are destroying the world!!! Men create this fucking violent PORN WITH NO REGARD TO SOCIETY just for money. Men have no souls. GANG RAPE??!! Yeah-it’s always the GIRL who gets hurt the most when it comes to “sex!!” Rape traumatizes women. How can a woman genuinely love a man after having this shit done to her!!?? You guys want to marry us and have us love you after you created this shitty rape culture in which we live?! And you are all guilty–sexual harrassment-rape-torture-kidnapping-murdering women-the list goes on and on….If I were your mother I’d disown you and more. You should all be CASTRATED!!

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