Ann Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Sep;20(3):130-5. doi: 10.6065/apem.2015.20.3.130.

The effect of early menarche on the sexual behaviors of Korean female adolescents

Cheong JI, Lee CH, Park JH, Ye BJ, Kwon KA, Lee YS and Yoo JH


Purpose: This study examined the relationships between early menarche and sexual behaviors among Korean female adolescents.

Methods: We analyzed data from the eighth Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based survey that was conducted on female high school students in grades 10-12. The survey included 17,867 students, and 974 students were assigned to the early menarche group because they had experienced menarche when they were in grade four or below, and 16,893 students were assigned to the normal menarche group because they had experienced menarche during or after grade five. The characteristics of the sexual behaviors in the early menarche and normal menarche group were analyzed.

Results: The early menarche group was at a higher risk of intersexual kissing or petting (odds ratio [OR], 1.54; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.28-1.87), intersexual intercourse (OR, 2.35; 95% CI, 1.65-3.36), homosexual kissing or petting (OR, 3.53; 95% CI, 2.22-5.59), homosexual intercourse (OR, 7.70; 95% CI, 4.04-14.66), being the victim (OR, 2.89; 95% CI, 1.98-4.22) or the assailant (OR, 13.55; 95% CI, 6.61-27.78) of sexual assaults, intercourse without any contraception (OR, 1.92; 95% CI, 1.06-3.46), and pregnancy (OR, 5.72; 95% CI, 2.31-14.15) than the normal menarche group.

Conclusions: Early menarche is associated with risky sexual behaviors among adolescent females; therefore, developing comprehensive sexual health education programs and tools for early intervention are required for children who are expected to experience early menarche.

Comment: Globally and especially in populations that go from lower to middle income, menarche is coming at an earlier age. That means that already in primary schools attention should be given to complete sexual education, including prevention of pregnancy and prevention of STDs. (HMV)