Early, late sex risks sexual health

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New York, Dec 7 (UNI) Those who start having sex at a younger or older than average age appear to be at greater risk for developing sexual health problems at later stage, a new study claims.

Using data from a 1996 cross-sectional survey of more than 8, 000 adults, US researchers found that those who started became sexually active at a relatively young age were more likely to suffer from sexually transmitted diseases (STD).

The average age for having the first sexual encounter was 17 or 18. Those who had the experience at the age of 14 were considered ''early starters'' and those who started at age 22 or older were ''late starters''.

Both early and late starters were at increased risk of problems in sexual function.

The study, titled ''Long-Term Health Correlates of Timing of Sexual Debut: Results From a National US Study'' published by the American Journal of Public Health, found that loss of virginity at too early an age was also associated with risk factors such as higher numbers of sexual partners and a history of alcohol-related sexual activity.

Delaying sexual activity may create health risks by impeding development of the emotional, cognitive and interpersonal skills that are crucial to satisfactory sexual functioning and general well-being, researchers said.

A supportive sexual education acknowledging the diverse needs of young people might prevent the negative outcomes observed here, the study reports.

UNI

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