The timing of a first family planning visit relative to first intercourse can affect the likelihood of an early unintended pregnancy. Nationally representative data from the 1982, 1988, and 1995 cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth were studied to identify changes in the timing of first family planning visits and to investigate the degree to which young women are now more likely than in the past to practice contraception independently of visiting a provider. The proportion of women who waited a month or more after their first intercourse to see a provider grew from 76% to 79% between 1978 and 1995, with women waiting for a median of 22 months after first intercourse in 1991-95. Any contraceptive use at first intercourse increased among women who delayed a first visit from 51% to 75%, and among those whose first visit occurred before their first intercourse or within the same month from 61% to 91%. The importance of the first family planning visit seems to be declining, as sexually active young women who delay their first visit increasingly do so because they are already using a provider-independent method, mainly the condom. This greater use of the condom is related to the advent of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the associated broader awareness of condoms' ability to block the transmission of HIV and other STDs.