But many of them are also engaging in risky behavior which is not good news.
According to a 2002 study of Massachusetts and Vermont teens, only 5 percent to 6 percent of teens had same-sex partners. In the new study, 9.3 percent of teens said they did. The new research, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that teens who had sex with only their own gender or with both genders were more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors, putting themselves at greater risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Elizabeth Saewyc, a researcher at the University of British Columbia, told Reuters Health that these teens may engage in riskier behavior because sex education programs don't always acknowledge gay, lesbian, and bisexual relationships.
"Some teens I've seen tell me that they completely check out of sex ed because they feel what they were learning didn't apply to them," said Saewyc, who was not involved in the new study.
She suggested that educators need to acknowledge gay, lesbian, and bisexual relationships more often in sex education curriculums so that teens are more likely to listen and will feel more comfortable discussing any issues.
Bullying has been increasing too as some schools are in denial.
In the 2008 British Columbia Adolescent Health Survey, for teens who were sexually active, 8 percent of males and 10 percent of females reported having had a same-sex partner. In a study looking at the 2001 Minnesota Student Survey, 9.4 percent of teens reported having had partners of the same or both sexes.
Dr. Preeti Pathela, lead author of the new study, said the results may have been different this time around because some states do not measure same-sex encounters.
This story is excerpted from a Reuters report.