Research from the Field

Joyce C. Abma, and Gladys M. Martinez (2017). Sexual Activity and Contraceptive Use Among Teenagers in the United States, 2011–2015. National Health Statistics Reports, 104. 

This report presents national estimates of sexual activity and contraceptive use among males and females aged 15–19 in the United States in 2011–2015, based on data from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG).  For selected indicators, data are also presented from the 1988, 1995, 2002, and 2006–2010 NSFGs, and from the 1988 and 1995 National Survey of Adolescent Males, which was conducted by the Urban Institute. In 2011–2015, 42.4% of never-married female teenagers (4.0 million) and 44.2% of never-married male teenagers (4.4 million) had had sexual intercourse at least once by the time of the interview (were sexually experienced). These levels of sexual experience among teenagers are similar to those seen in 2002 and 2006–2010 data. Longer-term trends, from 1988 to 2011–2015, show declines in the percentage of teenagers who were sexually experienced. Female teenagers’ use of a method of contraception at first sex increased from 74.5% in 2002 to 81.0% in 2011–2015. Male teenagers’ use of a condom at first sex increased from 70.9% in 2002 to 79.6% in 2006–2010 and remained stable at 76.8% in 2011–2015. Overall, in 2011–2015, 5.8% of female teenagers had used a long-acting reversible method (intrauterine device or implant). Full text can be found here. 

Renu Addlakha, Janet Price & Shirin Heidari (2017) Disability and sexuality: claiming sexual and reproductive rights, Reproductive Health Matters, 25:50, 4-9.
More than 15% of the world’s population are affected by disability, including physical and sensory impairments, developmental and intellectual disability and psychosocial disability. While it goes without saying that people with disability have equal rights to sexual and reproductive desires and hopes as non-disabled people, society has disregarded their sexuality and reproductive concerns, aspirations and human rights. While disability, sexuality and reproductive rights have gained significant visibility in research, policy and activist discourses in the high-income regions of the world, it is only now taking shape in public debates in many low- and middle-income countries. This is in part due to the small-scale action research funded and led by organizations in high-income countries. Much of this action research combines exploratory research with pilot interventions focusing on changing perceptions, raising awareness and sensitizing key stakeholders in the community. This editorial discusses how people with disabilities conceptualize, experience and engage with themselves as sexual beings; the intersectionality of these multiple identities; and frames the entire 50th Issue: Disability and sexuality: claiming sexual and reproductive rights. Full text can be found here. 

Masters, N. T., Morrison, D. M., Querna, K., Casey, E. A., & Beadnell, B. (2017). Correlates of Young Men's Intention to Discuss Birth Control with Female Partners. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 49(1), 37-43.
Factors related to sexually active young men who wish to prevent conception, but are not willing to use condoms consistently, and their intention to discuss birth control with their female partners. Improving the understanding of correlates of men's intention to have such discussions is one step toward supporting this health-facilitating behavior. A survey of heterosexually active men found that attitudes, norms and self-efficacy were each positively associated with men's intention to discuss birth control. The more strongly men endorsed a traditional masculinity sexual script, the less likely they were to intend to discuss birth control. Endorsement of an alternative, gender-equitable “sex-positive woman” script, which emphasizes sexual pleasure and emotional connection as goals for both partners, had no association with intention. Strategies that merit further exploration as potential supports for men's intention to discuss birth control include improving men's self-efficacy and positive attitudes and norms pertaining to such discussions, and reducing belief in traditionally masculine sexual scripts or transforming them to include discussing birth control. Full text can be found here. 

Yarger, J., Daniel, S., Antonia Biggs, M., Malvin, J., & Brindis, C. D. (2017). The Role of Publicly Funded Family Planning Sites in Health Insurance Enrollment. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. 
Publicly funded family planning providers are well positioned to help uninsured individuals learn about health insurance coverage options and effectively navigate the enrollment process. Understanding how these providers are engaged in enrollment assistance and the challenges they face in providing assistance is important for maximizing their role in health insurance outreach and enrollment. Over 650 California family planning programs were surveyed about their involvement in helping clients enroll in health insurance. Most sites provided eligibility screening, enrollment education, on-site enrollment assistance, and referrals for off-site enrollment support. The proportion of sites offering each type of assistance was highest among community clinics, primary care and multispecialty sites, Title X–funded sites with contracts to provide primary care services and sites using only electronic health records. Commonly identified barriers to providing assistance were lack of staff time, lack of funding, lack of physical space, and lack of staff knowledge. Only 20% of sites received funding to support enrollment activities. Although there were significant variations among them, publicly funded family planning providers in California are actively engaged in health insurance enrollment. Supporting their vital role in enrollment could help in the achievement of universal health insurance coverage. Full text can be found here.