Forty-nine percent of these teenage pregnancies end in abortions, but that still leaves many actual teenage births. In a 2001 UNICEF report, the UK had the highest rates in Europe with 30 births per women aged 15 to 19, with only the USA exceeding it among high-income OECD countries, with 52 births per 1,000. This is in staggering contrast to countries such as Korea, Japan, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden, which all have birth rates of fewer than seven per 1,000 teenagers. The Netherlands is just over the channel from the UK and yet their youth clearly have a very different approach to sex.
Finally, we should never forget the risks of such an energetic pursuit. Last year, researchers estimated that 1 in 45 heart attacks are triggered by sexual activity. Luminaries such as Nelson Rockefeller, Errol Flynn, President Felix Faure of France, and at least two popes, are said to have succumbed in this way.
Solo sexual activity used to be associated with blindness and stunted growth, for which there is a limited evidence-base to say the least. But if it involves asphyxiation it is not recommended for the cautious, with numerous fatalities recorded, including the actor David Carradine, singer Michael Hutchence and a UK Member of Parliament. One study recorded as many as 117 deaths from just two provinces in Canada.
The moral of all this is, possibly, that sex can be just as much about risk as morality.