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Adolescent sexuality

Adolescent is a traditional stage of physical, emotional and cognitive human development occurring before the onset of puberty and ending up adulthood. Adolescent sexuality encompasses multiple factors such as developing intimate partnerships, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion and culture.

Early adolescence (ages 12- 15) is a precarious period in youths’ sexual development because of the inter-relationship between sexual development, cognitive development, and emotional development. Youth at this age lack the cognitive and emotional maturity that is necessary to make wise and healthy decisions regarding their sexuality and are ill-prepared to cope with consequences of sexual activity. This is particularly unfortunate as today’s adolescents are becoming sexually active sooner than previous generations.

During early adolescence boys will experience frequent erections since this is the normal response of the male body to sexual excitement. Erections can also occur spontaneously for no apparent reason at all as boys’ bodies adjust to the extreme chemical and hormonal changes initiated during puberty. Similarly, girls may find they produce vaginal secretions for no apparent reason, even when they’re not menstruating. Sometimes, these secretions are caused by sexual arousal, but increased vaginal secretions can also be caused by normal hormonal fluctuations during their monthly cycle.

By ages 13-14 years, guys will have a more obvious interest in sex than girls do. Because sexual pleasure is a new experience, boys may want to masturbate quite frequently. Girls may not masturbate as frequently because they may be less aware of their sexual arousal. The sexual fantasies of boys are much more specific. They are mainly interested in the sexual activity itself. For most of them, sexual desire and satisfaction are immediate physical experiences quite unrelated to any particular social setting.

Common risky adolescent behaviors

  • Unprotected Sex
  • Substance abuse
  • Violence

Children should be told frankly and sensibly about the upcoming changes in their body. Information about sex should be provided in a way that is easily understood and that leaves no questions unanswered. This information is best supplied by a parent or someone with whom the child has an emotionally stable relationship. In many schools, programs are available tat highlight the dangers of casual sex, smoking, and alcohol and drug addiction.