Nemo, will you comment?
More than a fifth of girls claim to have had sex with three partners by the age of 14, according to a teen magazine survey. The findings suggest young teenagers are pursuing a promiscuous lifestyle, with two-thirds having unprotected sex and half admitting to a one-night stand.
Despite their apparently active sexual lives, some wish they had waited longer while others are yearning for 'love, affection and romance' instead
The national survey published today by Bliss Magazine - in which 2,000 girls with an average age of 14½ filled in magazine and website questionnaires - claims to be the most comprehensive of its kind.
But experts expressed doubts over whether the survey was truly representative or more the product of teenage wishful thinking.
The highly-respected National Survey on Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, providing the most credible recent data on the subject, suggested that one in four girls had sex by 16, and one in three men. It did not include the number of partners for under-16s, but data for 16-to-24-year-olds showed half had fewer than three partners and only one third more than five.
The Bliss survey found 22 per cent of 14-year-olds were sexually active, with almost two-thirds having had unprotected sex (65 per cent).
Almost half reported having had a one-night stand (45 per cent) and 55 per cent said they have sex more than once a month.
Half said they had regretted a sexual experience and six per cent have never had sex again after their first experience.
Around one in six had been prescribed the contraceptive pill and 10 per cent had taken the morning-after pill.
Alcohol is one of the key factors in girls losing their virginity early, as 60 per cent of sexually-active 14-year-olds claimed to have been drunk during their first time.
Despite their early sexual encounters, the vast majority of 14-year-olds still held on to old-fashioned values.
Dreaming of marriage
Altogether 94 per cent dreamed of getting married by the age of 25 and 89 per cent said they wanted to tie the knot before having children. More than nine out of ten said love, affection and romance was more important to them than sex.
Teenage girls rely on texting to communicate with their boyfriends - and send up to 12 messages a day on average.
And when hunting for a boyfriend they want the clean-cut image - a 'well-groomed guy' with a friendly smile and sense of humour.
Editor Lisa Smosarski said: "The figures are extremely worrying. Peer pressure from their friends plays a great role in this - they are desperate not to be the last virgin in school, but often they are not emotionally mature enough to deal with the situation."
But a spokesman for the fpa (formerly Family Planning Association) questioned whether the survey was a representative sample of teenage girls, properly weighted for educational attainment and background.
Norman Wells of Family and Youth Concern said he doubted whether the scope of the survey and the way it was carried out gave a true picture of young girls' sexual activity.
"I'm very sceptical about the reliability of the figures but nevertheless it comes against a background of rising numbers of sexually transmitted infections," he said. "It underlines the failure of the Government's teenage pregnancy strategy of damage limitation rather than prevention, particularly as so many girls taking part said they wanted to wed and have children within marriage."
Nemo, will you comment?