Japanese women having sex younger

Sixty-two percent of female university students have had sex, up 10 percentage points from six years ago to reach the same percentage as their male peers, according to a nationwide survey released Saturday.

The survey, taken by the Japanese Association for Sex Education, found the experience gap between females and males among high school students is also shrinking.

The Tokyo-based association carries out this kind of survey about every six years to investigate sexual behavior of young people.

In the first survey in 1974, 23 percent of male and 11 percent of female university students said they had experienced sex.

In the previous survey in 1999, the percentage for men stood at 63 percent and women at 51 percent.

The latest survey was carried out from November 2005 through this March with junior high school, high school and university students in Hokkaido, Akita, Miyagi, Tokyo, Tochigi, Niigata, Shizuoka, Kyoto, Shimane, Kochi, Fukuoka and Kumamoto. The association compiled the responses from 5,510 students.

The survey found 30 percent of high school girls had sexual contact, up 6 points from the previous survey, but the percentage for high school boys was the same as before at 27 percent.

The association said it has not yet fully analyzed the survey results, but the outcome indicates girls are outpacing boys in lowering the age of first sexual contact. Female students probably have more opportunities to meet members of the opposite sex than before as they turn to new communications channels, such as e-mail via mobile phones, the association said.

As for junior high school students, the percentage of those having had sex was almost unchanged at around 3 percent for both boys and girls.

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