Behavior: A Snapshot of Teen Sex

The first map of romantic liaisons in a U.S. high school reveals an elaborate, high-risk trail of love

Kids complain that there's nothing to do in the Midwestern town scientists are calling "Jefferson City." For fun, teenagers drive to the outskirts of this largely white, working-class community and get wasted. Another favorite activity? Sex. A little more than half the 1,000 students in the only high school are sexually active; the average age of initiation: 15 1/2.

Shocked? Actually, it makes Jefferson's kids typical American teens. But in one way the town is highly unusual: it was the site of a unique study in which researchers tried to document every romantic and sexual liaison among high school students over...

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