Adolescent Sexual Experiences

  • Jennifer Pearson
  • Lindsey Wilkinson
Part of the International Handbooks of Population book series (IHOP, volume 5)


The initiation of romantic and sexual relationships during adolescence is a normative and integral part of adolescent identity development. In the United States, the overwhelming majority of young people have romantic relationships (Carver et al. 2003) and initiate sexual activity during their high school years (Guttmacher Institute 2011); this trend has continued for decades (Finer 2007). American adult attitudes toward adolescent sexual behavior, however, continue to be characterized by fear, concern, and a focus on risk (Russell 2005; Schalet 2004), as evidenced by debates surrounding sex education in schools. Similarly, research on adolescent sexuality is largely focused on preventing sexual risk-taking and negative sexual outcomes, especially in the area of demography (Tolman and McClelland 2011). For example, sexual initiation is often characterized as a problem behavior, and the focus is overwhelmingly on contraceptive use, sexually transmitted infections, and pregnancy.


Sexual Minority Sexual Debut Adolescent Sexuality Sexual Minority Youth Heterosexual Youth 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyWichita State UniversityWichitaUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA

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