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Smith, Edward A. & Udry, J. Richard (1985). Coital and Non-Coital Sexual Behaviors of White and Black Adolescents. American Journal of Public Health, 75(10), 1200-1203. PMCID: PMC1646382


As part of a longitudinal study of young adolescents, data were collected in 1980 on the non-coital and coital sexual experiences of male and female adolescents who ranged in age from 12 to 15 at the time of the initial contact. The follow-up data were collected two years later. Both a Guttman-scale analysis and a longitudinal analysis of these data indicate different sexual patterns between White and Black teens; Whites are more likely than Blacks to engage in a predictable series of non-coital behaviors for a period of time before their first intercourse experience. Of the sexual behaviors studied, the pre-coital experiences of Black teens were less predictable and often involved only necking. These differences in sexual norms offer a partial explanation for the different pregnancy rates between these two groups. They also suggest that sexual and contraceptive education and counseling need to be cognizant of these differences since pre-coital experience may function as both a mechanism to prolong abstinence and to promote a gradual acceptance of one's sexuality.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Public Health


Smith, Edward A.
Udry, J. Richard