Busy Bodies?: An Analysis of Sex Partner Counts of American Teens

Eirik Evenhouse, Mills College
Siobhan Reilly, Mills College

This study is a 3-part analysis of the number of heterosexual partners reported by American adolescents. Part 1 shows that, on average, boys report 80 percent more partners than girls, mirroring recent CDC data on American adults. Exploring determinants of an individual’s partner count, we find some interesting asymmetries between boys and girls. Part 2 moves beyond means to dispersion, a factor in STD transmission), and finds correlations between dispersion and socioeconomic factors. The third part compares dispersion among boys with dispersion among girls, finding gender asymmetry that may be a precursor to phenomena such as multiple-partner fertility, family complexity, and effective polygyny. Overall, the degree of dispersion for boys is slightly greater. Looking instead at subgroups defined by ethnicity, religiosity, household income, or parental education level, the direction and degree of the gender asymmetry vary significantly.

  See paper

Presented in Session 50: Socio-Cultural and Gender Dimensions of Sexual Behavior and STDs