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Chapter 11

Chapter 11 Reading Notes.pdf

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Diane Glebe

READING NOTES Chapter 11: SEXUALITY Sexuality as anAdolescent Issue • Puberty andAdolescent Sexuality ◦ It is not until puberty that males can ejaculate and females can become pregnant ◦ Following puberty, individuals develop secondary sex characteristics that serve as a basis for sexual attraction Recap • Adolescence is a fundamentally important time in the life cycle for the development of sexuality • The physical and hormonal changes of puberty increase sex drive, change the adolescent's appearance, and permit reproduction, all of which affect the development of sexuality • The cognitive changes of adolescence result in the increased capacity of the individual to understand and think about sexual feelings • The transition of the individual into new social roles gives new meaning to sexual behaviour in the eyes of individuals, society, and social institutions and provides new motives for establishing sexual relationships • Four aspects of positive sexual development in adolescence are: ◦ Accepting one's changing body ◦ Accepting one's feeling of sexual arousal ◦ Understanding that sexual activity is voluntary ◦ Practicing safe sex How Sexually Permissive Is Contemporary Society? • The development of sexuality is determined by its context • Of particular importance is the way in which adolescents and children are exposed to and educated about sexuality – a process called sexual socialization Sexual Socialization in Restrictive Societies • In restrictive societies, the adolescent's transition into adult sexual activity is highly discontinuous ◦ Pressure is exerted on youngsters to refrain from sexual activity until they either have undergone a formal rite of passage into adulthood or have married Sexual Socialization in Semirestrictive Societies • In semirestrictive societies, adults frown upon sexual activity among adolescents but do not consistently enforce prohibitions against it • “Premarital promiscuity is common, and the parents do not object as long as the love affairs are kept secret” ◦ Unmarried pregnancies usually result in forced marriages Sexual Socialization in Permissive Societies • In permissive societies, the transition of young people into adult sexual activity is highly continuous and usually begins in childhood Recap • Cultures vary in their approach to sexual socialization – the way in which children are taught about sex ◦ Societies generally fall into one of three categories: ▪ Restrictive ▪ Semirestrictive ▪ Permissive • Although many people think of contemporary industrialized as being sexually permissive, many societies around the world are far more lenient about sex • By most indications,American's attitudes toward adolescent sex are neither restrictive or permissive – but semirestrictive SexualActivity DuringAdolescence • “Noncoital activity” refers to activities other than sexual intercourse such as kissing and touching other parts of each other's bodies Stages of Sexual Activity • Many adolescents' first experience with sex falls into the category of autoerotic behaviour ◦ - sexual behaviour that is experienced alone ◦ Erotic fantasies and masturbation • By the time adolescents reach high school, they make the transition from autoerotic behaviour to sexual activity that involves another person ◦ Often referred to as “fooling around” ◦ Aworrisome finding is that adolescents report talking about contraception after they first have intercourse, rather than before Sexual Intercourse During Adolescence • Prevalence of Sexual Intercourse ◦ There has been slightly fewer adolescents having sexual activity since the mid-1990s but those who are do so at someone earlier ages ◦ Sexual intercourse during high school is now a part of the normative experience of adolescence inAmerica • Ethnic Differences inAge of Sexual Initiation ◦ One reason for the high rate of early sexual activity among Black males is the higher proportion of Black youth grow up in single-parent homes and in poor neighbourhoods ◦ For many girls, their first sexual experience is forced • Timing of Sexual Initiation ◦ Adolescents are more likely to lose their virginity during June and December ▪ December is a peak time only among adolescents who are with a serious boyfriend or girlfriend ▪ Explanations claim that the general tendency for people to become more sexually active when it is very hot or very cold • Also the fact that adolescents have more unsupervised time when they are on summer or winter vacation ◦ “The holiday effect” - rise in sexual debuts in December Changes in Sexual Activity Over Time • Recent Historical Trends ◦ Three trends: ▪ First, the overall percentage ofAmerican adolescents who had engaged in premarital sex accelerated markedly during the early 1970s and again in the 1980s, then declined by 2001 and has remained flat ▪ Second, the proposition of individuals who have sexual intercourse early in adolescence is substantial • The most common reasons for abstaining are fears of pregnancy and disease ▪ Finally, the greatest increase in the prevalence of intercourse among adolescents, and the greatest decline in the age at first intercourse, has been among females • Sex andAlcohol ◦ Adolescence who use alcohol or other drugs prior to having sex has increased in recent years The SexuallyActiveAdolescents • SexualActivity and Psychological Development ◦ Numerous studies show that sexual activity during adolescence is decidedly not associated with psychological disturbance ▪ Adolescents who become sexually active earlier than their peers have levels of self- esteem and life satisfaction similar to those of other adolescents ◦ Early sexual activity is associated with a more general attitudinal and behavioural profile that includes more permissive attitudes towards sex, experimentation with with drugs and alcohol, minor delinquency, low levels of religious involvement, lower interest in academic achievement, and a stronger orientation toward independence • Causation or Correlation ◦ The most common time to have sex is on a weekday after school, most often at the boys' home or a friends ◦ Those who are not involved in an after school activity are more likely to be sexually active, have multiple partners, and contract an STD Hormonal and Contextual Influences on Sexual Activity • One factor consistently related to sex is physical maturation • Hormonal Influences ◦ Sex is influenced primarily by the surge in testosterone ▪ Adolescents with higher levels of androgens are more likely than their peers to report masturbating, thinking about sex, and planning sex ▪ Among boys, the increased level of androgens is directly related to the likelihood of their being sexually active • Younger boys who are more mature biologically are more likely to be sexually active than older boys whose hormone levels are lower • It also depends on how receptive girls are to them ◦ Estrogen influences girls' sexual activity mainly through its impact on their attractiveness to boys • The Role of Context ◦ Social factors are more important in influencing girls' involvement in sexual intercourse than boys' ◦ Girls whose social environment is less encouraging of sex – even those with high levels of androgens – are unlikely to be sexually active ▪ The hormone awakening is not always translated into sexually activity since it is not accepted for most girls to be as sexually active as boys Parental and Peer Influences on Sexual Activity • Most studies have found that adolescents from authoritative homes are less likely to become sexually active at an early age and less likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour (not using condoms) • Parent-adolescent conflict is associated with early sexual activity, especially if the adolescent is physically mature • Parent-Adolescent Communication ◦ Teenagers are more likely to talk about sex with mothers than fathers, and they rate their mothers as better sex educators ◦ Adolescents are more receptive when they have multiple conversations about sex as opposed to “the big talk” ◦ Most parents and teenagers talk about issues of safety (AIDS, condom use) and less about issue of sexual behaviour or relationships ◦ Most studies find that communication is very small ◦ Among girls with liberal parents, talking about sex is associated with more sexual activity • SexualActivity and Household Composition ◦ Adolescents (girls) who live in single-parent households or whose parents in the process of divorcing are more likely to be sexually active earlier than their peers ◦ Why does growing up in single-parent homes negatively affect girls more than boys? ▪ Social influences on girls' sexual behaviour are stronger and more varied than are the influences on boys' behaviour ▪ Single-parent mothers are likely to be dating, and, in doing so, may inadvertently be role models of sexual activity to their adolescents ▪ Girls are more likely to respond to problems at home by going outside the family for alternative sources of warmth and support ▪ The link between growing up in a single-parent household and earlier involvement in sex is genetic • Influences Other Than Parents ◦ Adolescents are more likely to be sexually active when their peers are ▪ More importantly, the belief they have that their friends are sexually active regardless if they are or not ◦ Peers influence operate in two different but compatible ways: ▪ First, they establish a normative standard that having sex is acceptable ▪ Second, through communication • e.g.) “You haven't done it yet?” or “You're thinking of doing what?” • Once a peer becomes sexually active, they “infect” other adolescents • Virginity Pledges ◦ Research finds that virginity pledges work only for younger adolescents – they have no effect on high school students ▪ Among high schoolers, “pledgers” are just as likely to have sex as “nonpledgers” Sex Differences in the Meaning of Sex • The Way Boys Feel ◦ The development of sexualit
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