Coital and non-coital sexual behaviors of White and Black adolescents

E. A. Smith, J. R. Udry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


As part of a longitudinal study of young adolescents, data were collected in 1980 on the non-coital and coital sexual experiences of male and female adolescents who ranged in age from 12 to 15 at the time of the initial contact. The follow-up data were collected two years later. Both a Guttman'scale analysis and a longitudinal analysis of these data indicate different sexual patterns between White and Black teens; Whites are more likely than Blacks to engage in a predictable series of non-coital behaviors for a period of time before their first intercourse experience. Of the sexual behaviors studied, the pre-coital experiences of Black teens were less predictable and often involved only necking. These differences in sexual norms offer a partial explanation for the different pregnancy rates between these two groups. They also suggest that sexual and contraceptive education and counseling need to be cognizant of these differences since pre-coital experience may function as both a mechanism to prolong abstinence and to promote a gradual acceptance of one's sexuality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1200-1203
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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