The Harmful Effects of Early Sexual Activity and Multiples Sexual Partners Among Women: A Book of Charts

The Heritage Foundation

– June 23, 2003


This report examines the linkages between early initiation of sexual activity, number of non-marital sex partners, and human well-being. In general, the earlier a woman begins sexual activity, the greater the number of non-marital sex partners she is likely to have over the course of her life. Early initiation of sexual activity and higher numbers of non-marital sex partners are linked in turn to a wide variety of negative life outcomes, including increased rates of infection with sexually transmitted diseases, increased rates of out-of-wedlock pregnancy and birth, increased single parenthood, decreased marital stability, increased maternal and child poverty, increased abortion, increased depression, and decreased happiness.