Teenagers and Oral Sex

ver the years there has been speculation about the increasing incidence of oral sex in the U. S. teenage population, but there have been no scientific studies to rely on for valid information. We know that Kinsey and his colleagues (1948, 1953) found that 17% of adolescents reported engaging in fellatio, and 11% reported engaging in cunnilingus. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy analyzed the 2002 data from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) to get more information on teenage sexual behavior. As you might remember from Chapter 2, the NSFG included data from people aged 15 to 44 years old, so researchers at the National Campaign in­cluded only the data from the 10,000 adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 years old.

This analysis revealed that 54% of girls and 55% of boys reported engaging in oral sex and that teenagers’ ex­perience with oral sex increased as teens got older (Flanigan et al., 2005). Teenagers who had already engaged in sexual intercourse also reported engaging in oral sex—88% of

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Подпись: Figure 8.4 Percentage of American teenagers who have sexual intercourse at different ages. Source: Facts in Brief: Teen Sex and Pregnancy (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1999). SEX in Real Life SEX in Real Life SEX in Real Life
SEX in Real Life
Подпись: 77%
SEX in Real Life
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Figure 8.5 20

Half of young women in Canada,

France, Great Britain, Sweden, and the

United States begin sexual intercourse 19

between the ages of 17 and 18.

Source: Reproduced with the permission of The Alan Guttmacher Institute from Teenage Sexual and

Reproductive Behavior in Developed Countries: Can 18

More Progress Be Made? New York: AGI, 2001, ф

Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentation.

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Cross-cultural age of first intercourse

There are also some adolescents who engage in anal sexual intercourse. Although studies of the rates of anal intercourse among youths are rare, one study of 350 hetero­sexual African American youths between the ages of 9 and 15 found that about one – third were sexually active; and, of those, about one-third had engaged in anal inter­course at least once (Stanton et al., 1994). Newer research indicates that the rates of anal intercourse may be increasing in adolescents who make virginity pledges (Bruckner & Bearman, 2005). This may be because they believe that engaging in anal intercourse would maintain their virginity status (we will discuss virginity pledges in greater detail later in this chapter).

Homosexual Sexuality Same-sex contact is common in adolescence, both for those who will go on to have predominantly heterosexual relationships and those who will have predominantly homosexual relationships. In fact, some adolescents change their self-identification as heterosexual, lesbian, gay, or bisexual a number of times dur-

ing adolescence (L. M. Diamond, 2000; Rosario et al., 1996). Until recently, adolescent homosexuality was not treated seriously and was considered simply a “phase”; it was not until 1983 that the American Academy of Pediatrics formally acknowledged the exis­tence of adolescent homosexuality and called on pediatricians to recognize and to ad­dress the needs of homosexual youths (Bidwell & Deisher, 1991). Many gay and lesbian adolescents experience heterosexual relationships and heterosexual intercourse during their teenage years, before they identify themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (Saewyc et al., 1998).

Подпись:It is difficult to determine actual figures for adolescent same-sex contact. Studies of high-school students find that about 10 to 13% report being “unsure” about their sexual orientation, whereas 1 to 6% consider themselves homosexual or bisexual; still, any­where from 8 to 12% report sexual contact with same-sex partners (Faulkner & Cranston, 1998). Such research, however, relies on self-reports; people may define ho­mosexual differently, deny experiences, or lie due to the stigma on homosexuality that continues to prevail in our society. Many people also do not consider same-sex contact— even repeated contact—indications of homosexuality; they see it as a “passing phase,” and thus they do not report it (Bolton & MacEachron, 1988).

Although many homosexual adolescents, especially today, establish healthy and ac­cepting gay identities, discovering one’s homosexuality during adolescence can be a painful and difficult process. Even those who report having felt “different” from their peers from as early as 4 or 5 years old may not label that difference as homosexual at­traction until adolescence (H. P. Martin, 1991). Many hide their orientation due to fears of being taunted by classmates or rejected by family members; gay adolescents are at higher risk for suicide, substance abuse, and being victimized (S. T. Russell & Joyner,

2001) . However, gay students today are also taking more pride in their identity, starting support groups, and suing their schools when the schools fail to protect them from anti­gay harassment. In Chapter 11 we will explore specialized schools for gay, lesbian, bi­sexual, and transgendered youths.

Other Sexual Situations There are many other types of sexual situations that ado­lescents can experience. Some teenagers, especially runaways—both male and female— engage in prostitution. Others make money by becoming involved in child pornography, posing nude for pictures, or performing sexual acts. Although there are few comprehen­sive studies of the results of engaging in prostitution or pornography as an adolescent (or younger), there is every clinical indication that it results in many sexual and psycholog­ical difficulties later on (we will discuss coercive sexuality in Chapter 17).

Many of the sexual variations seen in adults, such as transvestism, exhibitionism, and voyeurism, may begin in adolescence, though it is more common for these desires to be expressed in early adulthood. We discuss these sexual variations in depth in Chapter 16.