Myths and Facts

Myth or Fact? A teenage father (or mother, for that matter!) is only responsible for his child during the first year of his child’s life.

Myth! When a person becomes a father, whether he is a teenager or an older man, he is responsible for his child. If a man or a teen has a baby and he is not married to the mother of his child, he has to, by law, pay child support until the child is 18 years old. Every state has a child support enforcement office usually out of the department of human or social services. A woman that does not receive child support from the father of her child, may file a law suit against him. By law, every person who parents a child is responsible for the child.

FYI - This can also apply to women. It’s not just men who can be responsible for paying child support. Some mothers do not live with their children and they pay child support.

Myth or Fact? By the age of 15, about 75% of boys and girls have had sex.

Myth! Totally false! Not everybody is doing it. As a matter of fact, more teens are waiting to have sex; more than 50% of high school teens have reported that they are still virgins. Most teens have not had intercourse. It was also found that 8 in 10 girls and 7 in 10 boys are sexually inexperienced by age 15 and 1 in 5 young people have not had intercourse while teenagers.
(The Alan Guttmacher Institute, “Facts in Brief: Teen Sex and Pregnancy” available: The Alan Guttmacher Institute.)

Myth or Fact? It doesn’t matter how young you are when you start using alcohol - the effects are just the same.

Myth! Wrong again! The younger a person starts drinking alcohol, like before age 15, the more likely they will try other drugs and will use alcohol more heavily than people who start drinking at later ages.
(Kidsource: Kidsource)

Myth or Fact? More than half of teen pregnancies happen during the first six months after a person has sex for the first time.

Fact! Half of all first time teenage pregnancies happen within six months after losing their virginity and 20% happen within the first month.
(RA Hatcher, et al, Contraceptive Technology, Sixteenth Revised Edition (New York: Irvington Publishers, Inc., 1994), p. 580.)

Myth or Fact? You can’t tell by looking at someone if they have a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Fact! You have no way of knowing if a person has an STD just by looking at their appearance, such as how they dress and how “clean” they are. Most STDs have very few signs or no signs at all. Only in really extreme cases of certain STDs could a person detect signs of an STD in the groin area, but don’t rely on it. The truth is, about one in four sexually experienced teens become infected with an STD. (The Alan Guttmacher Institute 1998 “Facts in Brief: Teen Sex and Pregnancy”. available: The Alan Guttmacher Institute. [accessed 1999, November 11.])

Myth or Fact? Most teens who become pregnant marry the father of their baby.

Myth! Very few pregnant teens get married to the father of their child just because of the pregnancy. 79% of teen births were to unmarried teens.
(The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy)

Studies show that children who live in single parent homes are at more risk for several things such as living in poverty, teenage pregnancy and unemployment.
(Annie E. Casey Foundation)

Myth or Fact? Teens have higher rates of gonorrhea than do sexually active men and women ages 20-44.

Fact! Unfortunately, that is true. More sexually active teens have contracted gonorrhea than sexually active 20 to 44 year olds. Chlamydia, another STD, is also more common among teens than older men and women. (The Alan Guttmacher Institute. “Facts in Brief: Teen Sex and Pregnancy”. available: The Alan Guttmacher Institute.)