ATLANTA, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Sexual intercourse between U.S. teens in committed romantic relationships is often academically harmless, compared to abstinence, researchers found.
Sociologists Bill McCarthy of the University of California-Davis and Eric Grodsky of the University of Minnesota said their study considered nine education measures of high-school students, who had sex in a committed relationship, sex in an uncommitted relationship and among abstainers. The nine measures were: school attachment, high-school grade point average, college aspiration, college expectations, problems in school, truancy, the number of days truant, school sanctions such as being suspended or expelled and dropping out.
"Compared to abstinence, sexual intercourse in committed romantic relationships is often academically harmless, whereas in other types of relationships it is more detrimental," McCarthy and Grodsky said in a statement. "Females and males who have sex only with romantic partners are generally similar to abstainers on most of the education measures we examined."
However, the researchers said teens who have sex only with partners with whom they are not romantically involved were at greater risk of -- experiencing problems in school, being suspended or expelled, being less likely to expect to attend college, being less attached to school and getting lower grades.
The findings, presented at the American Sociological Association's 105th annual meeting, raise doubts about the veracity of sexual education programs that link adolescent sex to a plethora of negative outcomes, the researchers said.