Zion Mathew, 8, on left, Marilyn Morgan, 9, play a game of flag tag with other children during the Downtown Enrichment summer program at Backesto Park in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, June 25, 2015. Director Carmen Cautiverio took over the community center after it was closed down for a year and started her Downtown Enrichment summer camp on June 7, 2015, for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group)

CHICAGO — Recently, I had to comfort a student over a situation in which she and another girl were competing for the attention of a boy in their class. There were tears, drama, recriminations and some revenge fantasizing involving passionate language. They were 9-year-old third-graders.

In September, I had to talk to my students about not swapping speculation over who were boyfriends or girlfriends with whom. These were my first-graders.

My sons are now grown and, thankfully, after years of awkward conversations about hygiene, interpersonal relations, birth control, sexually transmitted diseases and vaccinations, we can have relaxed, factual conversations about such topics when the need arises.

I sure don’t remember having to broach those issues in primary school, but I’d have to reconsider that if my kids were young now — childhood innocence ends so swiftly these days.

Despite similar rates of sexual activity among both male and female adolescents, males are twice as likely to have their first sexual intercourse before the age of 13 — or seventh grade — according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics.

The study’s findings underscore that male identities are associated with their experiences and that their “age at first sexual intercourse is associated with identifiable systemic barriers in communities, such as racial segregation and neighborhood disadvantage,” according to Laura D. Lindberg, Isaac Maddow-Zimet and Arik V. Marcell, authors of “Prevalence of Sexual Initiation Before Age 13 Years Among Male Adolescents and Young Adults in the United States.”

Mayra Rodriguez
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Mayra Rodriguez

Content Editor at oneQube
Work from home mom dedicated to my family. Total foodie trying new recipes.Love hunting for the best deals online. Wannabe style fashionista. As content editor, I get to do what I love everyday. Tweet, share and promote the best content our tools find on a daily basis.
Mayra Rodriguez
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