The Relationship Between Cognitive Ability and Experiences of Vaginal, Oral, and Anal Sex in the United States

Nicole Fran Kahn, Carolyn Tucker Halpern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Few studies have investigated the sexual development of populations with low cognitive abilities in the United States. This article examines the relationship between cognitive ability and various sexual experiences from adolescence (ages 12 to 18) to early adulthood (ages 28 to 34). Data were from 13,845 respondents interviewed at Waves I and IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), a probability sample of adolescents in the United States followed from adolescence to adulthood. Adjusted logistic regression models were used to study relationships between cognitive ability, approximated by the Add Health Picture Vocabulary Test (AHPVT), and experiences of vaginal, oral, and anal sex. After controlling for biological sex, age, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status (SES), individuals in the lowest cognitive ability group had significantly lower odds of experiencing each type of sex than those in the average ability group. Although individuals in the highest cognitive ability group had significantly lower odds of experiencing vaginal intercourse than those in the average ability group, this association did not remain significant when analyses were stratified by biological sex. These differences in experiences have implications for future health and warrant further study to understand policy implications for sexual health services and education.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages99-105
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Volume55
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018

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Aptitude
cognitive ability
Sexual Behavior
adolescent
experience
adulthood
adolescence
Group
health
Health
ability
Logistic Models
Language Tests
health promotion
Sampling Studies
Sexual Development
social status
vocabulary
longitudinal study
health service

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Cite this

The Relationship Between Cognitive Ability and Experiences of Vaginal, Oral, and Anal Sex in the United States. / Kahn, Nicole Fran; Halpern, Carolyn Tucker.

In: Journal of Sex Research, Vol. 55, No. 1, 02.01.2018, p. 99-105.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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