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Some historical perspectives argue that adolescence is a social invention Adolescence is defined by the social conditions (politics, economics, etc.) and circumstances in which we live
Anthropological Theories- Societies vary in how the view the process of adolescenceAdolescence is a culturally defined experienceStressful and difficult to some societies yet calm and peaceful to othersIndustrialized societies- (U.S.) transition from adolescence toadulthood is abrupt and difficultNonindustrialized societies- transition from adolescence to adulthood is gradual and peacefulLeading Theorists: Ruth Benedict and Margaret MeadChapter 11-sexualitySexuality during adolescence
Adolescent sexuality is influenced by: Puberty- sexual activity can now lead to pregnancyCognitive changes- contemplation, questioning, decision making, and reflection about sexual behaviorConcerns about new social rolesMotivated for more serious emotional relationships (mainly girls)Desire to enhance social status with peers ( mainly boys)Defining sexual activity can vary depending on person answeringDiffering views on what “losing one’s virginity” meansStages of sexual behaviorStages of sexual activity:
Autoerotic behavior – sexual behavior that is experienced alone Having erotic fantasiesMasturbationNocturnal orgasms (wet dreams)By the time adolescents reach high school, they transition to sexual activity involving another personNearly one-third of American 9th-graders have had sexual intercourse. By senior year, about two-thirds have. Average age at which U.S. teens first had intercourse is 17 years oldEthnic differences
The average age at which American teenagers have intercourse for the first time is around 17In all ethnic groups, the average reported age of first sex is slightly older among females than malesNearly 25% of Black boys report having had sex for the first time by age 13, compared to 4% among White boys and 9% of Hispanic boysHigh rate of early sexual activity among Black males partly due to: Single parent homesPoor neighborhoods For many girls, first sexual experience is forced.Adolescents’ beliefs about the age at which it is acceptable tobegin having sex vary across countries.
Adolescents are most likely to have intercourse for the first time during early summer or in December.Weather is very hot or very cold (stay indoors more)School breaks/vacationsMore unsupervised timeChanges in sexual activity over timeThe percentage of sexually active adolescents increased during 1970s and 80s; decreased slightly from 1995 to 2001; it has remained low, a little less than 50% since thenOne-third of adolescents have early sexual intercourse (before ninth grade)Greatest increase in prevalence of premarital intercourse has
been among femalesSexually active adolescentsSexual activity during adolescence (age 16 and later) is not associated with psychological issuesLevels of self-esteem and life satisfaction are similar to otheradolescents’Early sexual activity (before age 16) is associated with a