One-fifth of girls are sexually active by 14

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The Independent Online

More than one-fifth of schoolgirls have had three sexual partners by the age of 14, according to a new survey. The survey of 2,000 younger teenagers found that 22 per cent had had sex by the age of 14. Many had slept with multiple partners despite regretting their first experience.

More than one-fifth of schoolgirls have had three sexual partners by the age of 14, according to a new survey. The survey of 2,000 younger teenagers found that 22 per cent had had sex by the age of 14. Many had slept with multiple partners despite regretting their first experience.

The findings show that, of the 22 per cent of 14-year-olds who had had sex, most said they had between two and four partners, almost two-thirds did so unprotected (65 per cent), and almost half had had a one-night stand and taken the morning-after pill. Most experienced their first "proper kiss" by the age of 12, while 16 per cent of under 14-year-olds also said they had had sex. A third said they did not like their sexual partner, with more than a quarter claiming he had forced himself on her. Six per cent said they had been assaulted.

A psychotherapist, Tina Radziszewicz, said: "These figures are really depressing. The main problem is still that many girls don't know how to say 'no'. They desperately want affection and cuddles, but are terrified of losing their boyfriend so they give in to sex."

Seventy per cent of girls said they needed more information but felt let down by parents and teachers. Almost two-thirds said their parents had never broached the subject while only 7 per cent said they received enough information at school.

Most held romantic views, with almost all hoping to marry before having children and insisting love and affection were more important than sex. Three-quarters said there was far too much pressure to have sex. By the average age of 14 and a half, two-thirds said they had had their heart broken twice.

The research was carried out for Bliss magazine. The editor, Lisa Smosarski, said: "Peer pressure from friends plays a great role in this - they are desperate not to be the last virgin in school, but often they are not emotionally mature enough to deal with the situation."

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