80% of Single Women in 20s Have Had Sex

Associated Press

Four out of five single American women in their 20s have had sex, one-third of them have been pregnant at least once and 40% of those aborted their first pregnancies, a federal study released today shows.

One-third have lived with a man, and one-sixth habitually engage in sex without contraceptives, according to the study, the first federal survey to focus solely on the sexual habits of women in their 20s.

The survey, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was presented to an advisory panel today by Wendy Baldwin, chief of the demographic and behavioral sciences branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Baldwin said the survey indicates that the young adult population “is not really doing a whole lot better than adolescents in terms of consistent use of contraceptives.”


Based on Interviews

The report was based on lengthy face-to-face interviews conducted in 1983 with 1,314 never-married women between the ages of 20 and 29 across the country.

Temple University demographer Koray Tanfer, who conducted the survey, said it indicated:

--One out of three single women in her 20s has been pregnant at least once.


--Forty percent of those women--half of the white woman and 10% of the black women--aborted their first pregnancies.

--One-sixth habitually risk pregnancy by engaging in sexual intercourse without contraceptives.

--Twenty percent did not begin to use contraceptives until after their first pregnancy.

--One-third have lived with a man.


--Four out of five have engaged in sex at least once.

--Never-married women in their 20s have had sexual intercourse, on average, with 4.5 men, half of the time with serious, long-term boyfriends and half in more casual relationships.