September 4th, 2010

penguin with crown

German teenagers have sex later, contraception use on the rise

Teens today may not be growing up too quickly after all. A new study on German youth sexuality revealed on Thursday that boys and girls are waiting longer to have sex and then having less of it than they were just five years ago.

Overall German teens are less sexually active than they were in 2005, according to the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) study.

Not only are they older when they lose their virginity, they are also more diligent when it comes to using contraceptives, BZgA director Elisabeth Pott said at the study presentation in Berlin.

"This is an important message, because the impression is often that youths are having sex earlier and more frequently," Pott said. "It is very clear that sexual activity is happening later."

In 2005, some 10 percent of 14-year-old German boys reported having had sexual intercourse, but only four percent said the same in the new study. For 17-year-old boys the number went down by just one percentage point to reach 65 percent. Meanwhile for 14-year-old girls the number dropped from 12 percent to 7 percent, and from 73 percent to 66 percent for 17-year-old girls.

The findings also dispel the notion that today's youth deserve the moniker 'Generation Porno,' a title with which they have been burdened in recent years.

"The interest in pornography is much smaller than feared," said Pott.

Some 3,500 young people took part in the survey in 2009, among them about 1,000 teenagers with an immigrant background.

More boys from immigrant families were sexually active than their German counterparts (72 percent compared to 65 percent), though the numbers were still significantly lower than in 2005.

However, girls from immigrant families were more likely to wait for sex, with 53 percent of the 17-year-olds saying they were still too young. The number was down two percentage points from the 2005 survey and 13 points lower compared to their German counterparts.

Many teens named their own shyness and the lack of a proper partner as reasons for holding back.

“The desire for trust is huge,” Pott said, adding that most teens were in a steady relationship before they went to bed together.

The reasons for the shift to more responsible sexuality among teens are manifold, Pott said, explaining that greater knowledge is a main part of the trend.

“There were times when sexuality was revolutionised and people were against established structures, and that wasn’t just for the ’68 generation,” Pott said. This doesn’t necessarily mean that today’s teens are more conservative than previous generations, but that they have a dominant wish for intimacy and trust.

Just eight percent of German youths said they did not use contraception for their first sexual experience.

“Birth control is going better than ever,” Pott said, saying boys’ behaviour was beginning to be as responsible at that of girls.

A high proportion of German girls and boys (69 and 58 percent, respectively) said they had open conversations with their family about birth control. For children of immigrants this was less common, with half of girls and 41 percent of boys reporting such a conversation.

And for those who feel they can’t talk with their parents, help is often available in schools.

“There is often a trust for teachers, who can answer questions that otherwise no one would answer,” Pott said.


As we had a number of posts on sex and sex education recently, I thought I'd throw in another, optimistic one. I guess this study shows what sex education can do, both in school and outside of it.

The image I posted with the article is a poster by the same government agency which did this study. They have been using images like that for years (small image gallery with more examples), with a high recognition value. If you spend any time in public places in Germany, you have likely seen posters like this. I find they really brighten a dreary subway station. More recently, they have started a series of places where people might have sex, reminding people that they should use condoms in order to enjoy it without risking AIDS. Their campaign is specifically aimed at teenagers.

Accepting the fact that teenagers do have sex really makes it easier to tell them how they can do so safely. Our teen pregnancy rate, according to what I've read, is now at 10 of 1000.

I'm curious: Do you have similar campaigns where you are? If so, post pics!

7.1 magnitude earthquake in Canterbury, New Zealand

Massive earthquake hits New Zealand's second largest city

Christchurch earthquake

Today's 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Canterbury is the most significant [in New Zealand] since the 1931 magnitude 7.8 Hawke's Bay earthquake, scientists say.

Christchurch - and the wider South Island - was rocked by the massive quake at 4.35am. Buildings were flattened, residents injured and infrastructure damaged.

The quake - initially reported at 7.4 magnitude but later downgraded - was centred 30km west of the city and 33km underground. It has been followed by a series of strong aftershocks.

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Additional source

I'm in New Zealand, further north, but I have family and friends in Christchurch. Everyone I know is OK, luckily! But the television pictures are just appalling: buildings collapsed, roads cracked, pipes ruptured...We're used to earthquakes in NZ, but there's been nothing on this scale in my lifetime.
once upon a time

Women...Enjoy Violence on TV?! *le gasp*

In the first few minutes of the new television show "Nikita," a masked bank robber shoots a witness. A suspect takes down a couple of police officers, and a trained killer in a skimpy red bikini breaks a mobster's neck with her bare hands.

What viewers won't see are shopping sprees, moneyed teenagers or flirty scenes with cute guys.

The show reflects new thinking among television network executives: Their core audience—female viewers—want to see a woman take down the enemy, preferably with a little bloodshed along the way. The approach overturns years of belief that violent shows turn off women who prefer to watch earnest nurses, headstrong housewives or quirky career women

Viewers who grew up with video games and Angelina Jolie action movies are driving the types of shows networks will debut this month and redefining how the classic TV heroine is portrayed. On Sept. 9 the CW network will debut "Nikita," about a rogue assassin, played by Maggie Q. In the coming weeks NBC will premiere "Chase" about U.S. Marshal Annie Frost and "Undercovers" about a husband-and-wife spy team. In July USA introduced "Covert Affairs" about a 28-year-old CIA trainee who speaks six languages.

Ever since TV began as a way to sell detergent to housewives, networks have tried to stay in tune with changing preferences among women, who watch more TV than men. Female characters evolved from June Cleaver to Murphy Brown and Ally McBeal.

The networks need to refresh their lineup of dramas for women as several big shows are aging. In the season that ended in May, 12.5 million viewers watched "Desperate Housewives" each week down from 23.4 million in 2004. "Grey's Anatomy" and "Gossip Girl" have also declined in popularity, Nielsen says.

That's prompted networks to dig deeper into the female psyche. Last spring, the CW network, known for such soapy female-targeted shows as "Gossip Girl" and "90210," which follow the trials of privileged youth in Manhattan and Beverly Hills, respectively, commissioned a nation-wide study into what women in their 20s and 30s want. More than 60% of the network's viewers are women, mostly between the ages 18 to 34.

Market researchers asked groups of 10 to 12 women gathered at local coffee shops or a friend's house as well as in traditional focus groups in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, and Denver to make collages of magazine images they liked. They chose Jennifer Aniston paddle boarding over actresses lying on the beach in bikinis. They preferred absinthe and beer to wine or fruity pink cocktails and gravitated to toned athletes in fitness magazines over models in evening gowns.

They also thought men had gotten wimpier and associated the opposite sex with the bumbling losers played by Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen in recent romantic comedies. "It was obvious that these women feel like they have to take charge and be the hero," says Jane Buckingham, president of Trendera, the market research and trend forecasting firm that conducted the study.

Action shows are hard to pull off, and any overly brutal scenes that could be perceived as gratuitous will turn off female viewers, network executives say. There's also a kitsch factor to worry about. TV works with much smaller budgets than movies. With viewers accustomed to seeing slick, expensive stunts and computer-generated enhancements, anything less can look campy.

...(more at the source)

TV has experimented with action heroines in the past with shows like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Alias," but those shows largely avoided anything too gritty. "Nikita" executive producer Craig Silverstein says he was hesitant when TV studio Warner Bros. asked him to re-imagine "Nikita," inspired by the French film "La Femme Nikita" which also spawned U.S. movie "Point of No Return" and a 1997 series on the USA network.

"It's not going to be 'Gossip Girl' with a gun. She's going to kill people. Are they okay with that?" Mr. Silverstein says he asked studio executives.

To test the waters, market researcher Ms. Buckingham showed the groups of young women different images of Nikita. Sexy poses in skimpy bikinis were okay, as long as the bathing suit served a purpose—like in one scene when she sneaks into a pool party to kill a gangster. They preferred sexy outfits that were the result of a vicious fight such as a shredded T-shirt. A too-skimpy outfit, prompted the group to ask: "But where would she put her gun?"

The findings surprised network executives. "We weren't sure what level of violence our viewers would find acceptable," says Dawn Ostroff, president of entertainment at the CW. The research showed that "it's an easy pill for them to swallow." Ms. Ostroff says the violence is no worse than other prime-time action series like "24."

NBC picked up "Chase" thinking an attractive and complicated U.S. Marshal would draw viewers at 10 p.m. But after seeing the first episode, the network worried that an opening scene in which a family of three is shot at close range might be too much.

They asked Ms. Johnson to cut about 30% of the violence including shortening a tense scene in a grocery store when viewers don't know if an armed psychopath will make a little girl his next victim. "We trimmed back the body count," says Angela Bromstad, NBC's president of prime-time entertainment. "We don't want to go overboard and turn people off."

Source: Wall Street Journal. Written by Amy Chozick


Dear WSJ and TV executives,
Tell me something I didn't already freaking know.

Cool story sis time: I grew up watching Xena. She got me through my crappy middle school years. She was my hero. Xena ended in 2001, the same year Alias started, and I watched the shit out of that show. It was the first show that I watched from the very first episode to the very end. American society may not always get it right with women, but at least it allows for these kinds of female characters to thrive on TV.