Adolescence

Adolescence

The Transitional Years
1983, Pages 248-283
Adolescence

8 - ADOLESCENT SEXUALITY

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This chapter discusses sexual experiences of adolescents. Several commentators on the current social scene have described the trend toward liberalized sexual norms as a sexual revolution. Nudity and sex in the movies are much more widely accepted. People are discussing sexual lifestyles much more openly than in the recent past. Sexually explicit language is present in literature and in the media in a way that was neither legally nor socially acceptable just a few years ago. A shift in attitudes toward sexual behavior is just one of the elements of a sexual revolution. A second element is an increase in sexual participation, reflected in the incidence of premarital intercourse. A third element is earlier participation in sexual activities; younger adolescents who participate in advanced forms of sexual behavior would demonstrate this aspect of a sexual revolution. A fourth element of liberalization concerns changes in patterns of sexual behavior, including willingness to engage in more exotic forms of sexual expression, such as oral–genital contact, sodomy, and group sex. In the area of sexuality, adolescents tend to adopt the standards and behavior that they think characterize their reference group. Among college students, peer group influences on sexual behavior and standards increases during the college years.

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