Teenagers who have sex in committed relationships do no worse at school than those who stay virgins, experts have said today.
Sex in relationships is largely harmless to academic studies but can have an adverse effect on students who are not romantically involved.
Experts from the University of California Davis and the University of Minnesota in the US looked at teenage experiences of studying and sex.
They followed how well youngsters performed at high school, whether they wanted to go to university and their expectations of succeeding. They also examined problems in school.
The data was collected from more than 90,000 teenagers taking part in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (ages 11 to 17) and the Adolescent Health Academic Achievement Study.
Results showed that, among teenagers who were similar in all other respects, those who had sex outside a relationship were more likely to experience problems at school, be suspended or expelled, were less likely to expect to go to university and had lower grades than those in relationships.
But those who had sex in committed relationships performed just as well as those who stayed virgins.