Contrary to the common perception that teenage sex and pregnancy typically stem from two teenagers getting caught up in the heat of the moment, new research reveals that many teenage girls are being sexually exploited and impregnated by adult men.
In fact, a recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that adult men fathered two-thirds of the infants born to school-aged mothers in California in 1993. On average, these men were 4.2 years older than the senior-high mothers and 6.7 years older than the junior-high mothers.
Likewise, a review of California's 1990 vital statistics found that men older than high school age sired 77 percent of all births to high school-aged girls (ages 16-18) and 51 percent of births to junior high school-aged girls (15 and younger). Men over age 25 fathered twice as many teenage births as did boys under age 18, and men over age 20 fathered five times more births to junior high school-aged girls than did junior high school-aged boys.
Unfortunately, this phenomenon is not limited to the state of California. A recent study by the Population Reference Bureau found that about two-thirds of births to teenage girls nationwide are fathered by adult men age 20 or older. Additionally, the Alan Guttmacher Institute's 1994 report, "Sex and America's Teenagers," found that six of 10 girls who had sex before age 15 were coerced by males an average of six years their senior. The Urban Institute cites a study showing that "three quarters of females who had sexual intercourse before age 14 reported having had sex involuntarily."