A number of conditions motivate teenagers to engage in sexual intercourse. An accel­erated output of sex hormones, especially testosterone, increases sexual desire and arousability in both sexes. Some adolescents are motivated by curiosity and a sense of

Sexuality During Childhood and Adolescence

Critical Thinking Question

Assume that you are a parent of a teenager who asks, "How do I know when I should have sex?" What would you answer, and why?

readiness to experience intercourse. About half the men and one fourth of the women in the NHSLS reported that their primary reason for engaging in their initial coital experience was curiosity and feeling ready for sex (Laumann et al., 1994). Many teen­agers consider sexual intercourse a natural expression of affection or love (O’Sullivan et al., 2007). Almost half the women and one fourth of the men who responded in the NHSLS reported that affection for their partner was the primary reason for engag­ing in first intercourse (Laumann et al., 1994). A push toward "adult" behaviors, peer pressure, pressure from dating partners, and a sense of obligation to a loyal partner are other reasons that adolescents engage in coitus (Lammers et al., 2000; Rosenthal et al., 1999).

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