tyra “shocked” by results of teen sex survey. but how valid are her stats?

A few weeks ago Tyra Banks continued the daytime talk show tradition of parading teen girls across the stage, grilling them about their sex lives and then acting shocked when they say things like, "I'm 13 and want a baby!" or, "I'm 15 and have already slept with 20 guys."

The excuse for this latest round of gawking was to discuss the results of a sex survey that the Tyra Show had conducted. According to these results:

  • On average, girls are losing their virginity at 15 years of age.
  • 14 percent of teens who are having sex say they’re doing it at school.
  • 52 percent of survey respondents say they do not use protection when having sex.
  • One in three says she fears having a sexually transmitted disease.
  • 24 percent of teens with STDssay they still have unprotected sex.
  • One in five girls says she wants to be a teen mom.
  • About 50 percent acknowledge that they’ve hit someone.
  • One out of three teens has tried drugs.

Like Tyra, the audience seemed stunned.  But I was skeptical.  These numbers weren't reflected in any of the research that I have come across. For example, a study done by the well respected Kinsey Institute, found that only 25% of girls were first having sex at 15. This doesn't quite sound like the "average" Tyra claims.

Additionally, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey done by the CDC put teen condom use at 62%, not 52%. That same survey found that 35% of students had been in a physical fight–a far lower number than the 50% found by Tyra.

So what's up with the discrepancies? Basically, the quality of the research is to blame. The thing that Tyra failed to highlight was that all of her survey respondents were self-selected. That means the only people who responded were either girls who watched Tyra or those who went to her website. Any researcher will tell you that Tyra's method is not a good way to get an accurate sample.

What these results tell me is not what the majority of American girls are doing. What they tell me is what the majority of Tyra watchers who bother to fill out surveys in their free time are doing.

TV talk shows love to scandalize–that's how they keep their ratings up. But is doing it at the expense of teen girls' reputations acceptable? What do you think of the Tyra study and the impression it gives about teens?

Photo provided by Stephen Lovekin

Posted in: Health, Sex & Relationships, Virginity
Tags: ,
  • allison

    oh and she really should have girls who HAVE NOT had sex on her show and see what kind of results she gets then.

  • allison

    OK so I'm 13 years old and I'm with the most amazing guy in the world. I was raped when I was 10 and I didn't hve anyone to talk to about it. I guess you could call me "emo" because I did try to kill myself. I did not get pregnant. But for 2 years after it happened he would touch me on the bus and I didn't do anything because I didn't want to sound like a baby. I mean I WAS A KID! I didn't know what to do. Well I moved a little after I turned 12 and my first friend was my current boyfriend. He was the first person I talked to about it. We have been "going out" for almost a year and we have both already said we WILL NOT have sex until we are 18 at least. So to everyone that says having sex as a kid is gross. Think again. Most girls that did have sex at that age were pressured and didn't REALLY wanna do it. And if they did, you should be a good christian person and pray for them. Sex is a wonderful thing that is supposed to be shared between married people. I don't meant to offend anyone…but this is MY comment box and I have a comment. Everyone else gave their opinion, its my turn. If anyone wants to talkt to me, email me at super.girl1919@yahoo.com

  • Heaven Haile

    I think alot of teens are doing it at a younger age because they think there in love or because thats what they feel they should do in a relationship. Im 17 and still a virgin…i've dated plenty of guys but having sex should'nt be like shaking someones hand. U should really understand how the other gender thinks before having sex…most guys in there teens think about sex none stop and would do anything to get it….so be smart.