Section Title (17 Pt)

Section Title (17 Pt)

CHAPTER 7:Sexuality


Adolescentsexualitybecomestheessenceoflifeforyouthsthroughfantasy,exploration,andidentitydevelopment.ThetransitionfromchildhoodtoadulthoodtakesplaceacrossdevelopmentaldomainsdiscussedinpreviouschaptersofAdolescence,andsexualityrepresentsanintegralcomponentofeachoneofthem.Adolescencemightbeconsideredanextendedtransition,especiallyinthedomainofsexuality.While Althoughsomeculturesactivelyembracesexualexploration,othersadvocatepostponingsexualcontactuntilmarriage.Cultureswithmixedmessagesinspireheightenedcuriosity,andyouthsbecomeincreasinglyawareoftheirownmotivationtoestablishanunderstandingofpreferencesandpatternsoffulfillment.Withbothanxiety and eagerness, adolescents are compelled to establish a sexual identity.

Duringadolescence,sexualbehaviorfollowsthesequencekissing,petting,intercourse,andoralsex.About80percentofadolescentshavehadintercoursebyage19.Eightypercentofmaleslivingintheinner cityandinlowSEScommunitiesreporthavinghadintercoursebyage14.Adolescentfemalesreportbeinginloveasthemainmotivationforsexualbehavior,butmalespushtheprogressionofsexualbehaviortowardintercourse.Youngstersengaginginintercoursebeforeage16tendtodemonstrateriskybehaviorincludingpooruseofcontraceptives,excessivedrinking,druguse,delinquency,andschool-relatedproblems.Riskfactors for problems related to sexual activity include socioeconomic status, parenting strategies, and modeled sexual behavior or pregnancy by older siblings.

Theadolescentexperienceincludesthedifficulttopicofhomosexuality.Homosexualattitudesandbehaviorbecomepartofanadolescent’stendencyorpreferencewithvaryingdegreesofheterosexualandhomosexualexperiences.Althoughitisnotclearwhetherbiologicalmechanismsaregeneticallyorenvironmentallyaffected,environmentalandsocialinfluencesarelikelytohaveacombinedeffectaswell.Threestagesassociatedwithacknowledginghomosexualityappear:sensitization,awarenesswithconfusion,andacceptance.Disclosuretypically occurs with friends, siblings, and finally parents.

Adolescentsofeithersexualorientationexperiencesimilarmechanismsofsexualarousal.Masturbationfacilitatesexcitementandfrequentlyservesasanoutletforadolescents.Contraceptiveusehasincreased,butfemales’unwillingnesstopressuremalestousethem,andthesporadicnatureofsexualcontactcompromiseeffectiveness.Nonuseofcontraceptivesisassociated with low SES, younger age, inconsistent relationships, poor future planning, and negative social attitudes and adjustment.

Adolescent pregnancy and unwed mothers continue to be a serious dilemma in the United States even though the rate is lower than it was in the 1940s. The adolescent pregnancy rate is at least four times the rate in Western European countries. Pregnancy leading to childbirth before age 17 is characterized by:

health risks of pregnant teenschildren with neurological problems

infants with LBWchildren with lower intelligence scores

childrenwithmorebehaviordifficultieschildren with more illnesses

mothers dropping out of schoolmothers and infants living in poverty

Only 50 percent of mothers completeOnly 25 percent of adolescent fathers

school by age 26remain involved

Cognitive abilities that reflect limited recognition of cause cause-and and-effect relationships coupled with high unemployment motivate a feel-good-now perspective. Adolescent parents often do not have the support that they need to follow desirable child-rearing practices. In an attempt to demonstrate responsibility, adolescent fathers quit school to take low-paying jobs. Reducing adolescent pregnancy depends on family planning, contraceptive availability, future planning, and community consensus for adolescent success.






AIDS—–virus; destroys the immune system; death results from common illnesses.

Effective prevention strategies include discussions and outreach with trained peers and volunteers.

Forcible sexual behavior and sexual harassment are unfortunate byproducts of our sensual culture. Four issues that are recognized as highly destructive to the individual involved and to society as a whole:

rape—–forced, nonconsenting sexual intercourse;

date and acquaintance rape—–coercive sexual activity with a known perpetrator;

quidproquosexualharassment—–forcedsexualcomplianceinexchangeforprotection from negative educational outcomes;

hostileenvironmentalsexualharassment—–forcedsexualcontactthatnegativelyimpacts work.

Adolescents tend to have a poor knowledge base about sexually related issues:


Twelve percent of students believe the birth control pill protects against AIDS.

About a quarter of adolescents believe looking at a person can identify AIDS.


Total Teaching Package Outline

Chapter 7: Sexuality

Lecture Topic: 7.1
Research Project: 7.1
Essay Question: 1
A Normal Aspect of Adolescent Development / Lecture Topic: 7.2
Critical Thinking Exercise: 7.1
Essay Question: 1
A Bridge Between the Asexual Child and Sexual Adult / Video: Sex among teens at age 15 (VAD)
The Sexual Culture / Discussion Topic: 7.1
Developing a Sexual Identity / Lecture Topic: 7.1, 7.2
Obtaining Information About Adolescent Sexuality / Discussion Topic: 7.1
In-Class Activity: 7.1
Sexual Attitudes and Behavior / Learning Goal: 1
Image Gallery: 96, 133
Discussion Topic: 7.1
Essay Question: 2
Heterosexual Attitudes and Behavior / Discussion Topic: 7.2
In-Class Activity: 7.1
The Progression of Adolescent Sexual Behaviors / Lecture Topic: 7.3
Adolescent Heterosexual Behavior—Trends and Incidence / Lecture Topic: 7.3
Critical Thinking Exercise: 7.1
Adolescent Female and Male Sexual Scripts / Short Scenario: 7.1
Risk Factors for Sexual Problems / Research Article: 7.2
WWW: The Kinsey Institute; Sexuality Research Information Service at
Homosexual Attitudes and Behavior / Learning Goal: 1
Discussion Topics: 7.1, 7.4
In-Class Activity: 7.1
Critical Thinking Exercises: 7.1, 7.3
Research Article: 7.1
Essay Question: 3
Through the Eyes of Adolescents: Struggling with a Sexual Decision
A Continuum of Heterosexuality and Homosexuality / Lecture Topic: 7.1
Discussion Topic: 7.4
Causes of Homosexuality / WWW: The International Lesbian and Gay Association; National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Supporting Gay and Lesbian Rights; Lesbian and Gay Issues in santrocka10
Developmental Pathways / Video: Sexual Minority Youth (VAD)
Gay or Lesbian Identity in Adolescence / Through the Eyes of Adolescents: Not Interested in the “Ogling” That My Friends Engaged In
Disclosure / Research Article: 7.1
Discrimination and Bias / Discussion Topic: 7.4
Self-Stimulation / Learning Goal: 1
Discussion Topic: 7.1
Contraceptive Use / Image Gallery: 134
Research Article: 7.2
WWW: The Alan Guttmacher Institute at
Short Scenario: 7.2
Adolescent Pregnancy / Learning Goal: 2
In-Class Activity: 7.2
Essay Question: 4
Incidence and Nature of Adolescent Pregnancy
Cross-Cultural Comparisons
Decreasing US Adolescent Pregnancy Rates / Image Gallery: 166
Discussion Topic: 7.2
Video: Teen Pregnancy Prevention (VAD)
Consequences of Adolescent Pregnancy / Discussion Topic: 7.2
Short Scenario: 7.2
Essay Question: 5
Through the Eyes of Adolescents: Kids Having Kids
Cognitive Factors in Adolescent Pregnancy / Short Scenario: 7.2
Adolescents as Parents / Image Gallery: 135, 177, 180
Careers in Adolescent Development: Lynn Blankenship, Family Consumer Science Educator
Video: Coping As Teen Parents (VAD)
WWW: Adolescent Pregnancy; Teen Pregnancy Reduction Initiative at
Reducing Adolescent Pregnancy / In-Class Activity: 7.1
Essay Question: 6
Video: Teen Pregnancy Prevention (VAD)
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Genital Herpes
Genital Warts
Chlamydia / Learning Goal: 2
Image Gallery: 97
Discussion Topic: 7.3
Essay Question: 7
WWW: CDC National Prevention Network; American Social Health Association; Sexually Transmitted Diseases Resources; Adolescents’ STDs KonwledgeKnowledge; Preventing STDs in Adolescents; Syphilis; Chlamydia; Genital Herpes at
Forcible Sexual Behavior and Sexual Harassment
Forcible Sexual Behavior
Sexual Harassment / Learning Goal: 2
Short Scenario: 7.3
Essay Question: 8
WWW: Sexual Assault; Sexual Harassment; Sexual Harassment in Schools at santrocka10
Sexual Literacy
Sources of Sex Information
Sex Education in Schools / Learning Goal: 3
Discussion Topic: 7.1
In-Class Activity: 7.1
Critical Thinking Exercise: 7.1
Essay Question: 9
WWW: SIECUS; Does Sex Education Work?; The National Center for Sexuality Educators; Abstinence at
Essay Question: 10
Sexual Well-Being and Developmental Transitions / Critical Thinking Exercise: 7.2
Social Policy and Adolescent Sexuality / Short Scenario: 7.3

Suggested Lecture Topics

Topic 7.1—Five Layers of Erotic Life

Perceptions of normal versus abnormal sexual behavior change, as do behavioral expectations across cultures and societal norms across time. Rosenhan and Seligman (1995) point out that in the past, behavior identified as “normal sexual function” was easier to define than it is currently. Factors that contribute to confusion include increased diversity in sexual practices, broader conceptualizations of sexual order, and narrower conceptualizations of sexual dysfunction than in the past. During the 1960’s and 1970s, sexual behavior in general occurred with more frequency and diversity, due in part to the birth control pill, and to increased permissiveness by society. The advent of AIDS influenced an increased uneasiness, a decline in adventurousness and, thus, more conservative attitudes than those expressed during the 60s and 70s.

Behavior practices that have become more common, or considered normal, over the last 40 years include “masturbation, premarital sex, oral sex, homosexuality, and bisexuality” (Rosenhan & Seligman, 1995, p. 470). Age, culture, and religion influence individual acceptance of each type of sexual behavior as well. In general, perceptions of sexual order and disorder have changed dramatically over the last century, and presumably will continue to change over the next. The five layers of erotic life, from the deepest layer, sexual identity, to the most surface layer, sexual performance, clarify normal sexual order and identify sexual disorders and dysfunction.

Sexual identity is the first layer, defined by chromosomal and genital identification. Women identify themselves by vaginas (and a pair of XX chromosomes); men identify themselves by penises (and by a pair of XY chromosomes). These attributes contribute to an individual’s deepest layer of normal sexual identity. Transsexuals see themselves as being trapped inside the body of the wrong sex.

Sexual orientation represents the second layer. An individual who has exclusive sexual attractions to the opposite sex is exclusively heterosexual. An individual who has exclusive sexual attractions toward the same sex is exclusively homosexual. Individuals who fantasize about both male and female attractions are bisexual. Sexual orientation that is considered problematic causes distress or confusion that the individual finds unacceptable.

Sexual interest is identified as the third layer. Attractions toward a type of person, parts of the body, and situations in relation to sexual arousal or fantasy represent sexual interest. Women tend to focus on the male chest and shoulders, arms, buttocks, and face; men are liable to focus on the female face, breasts, buttocks, and legs. Unusual objects of arousal such as feet, belly button, panties, or animals that interfere with normal sexual arousal are classified as disordered sexual interests.

Sex role, the fourth level, is reflected in the public demonstration of maleness or femaleness. Most people adopt a role that they believe fits them. Women adopt female roles; men adopt male roles. There are no disorders identified at this level.

Sexual performance, the behavior that the individual demonstrates with the preferred person under preferable conditions, represents the fifth level. Normal performance is associated with desire, arousal, and orgasm. Problems at this level are identified as sexual dysfunction or inability to perform.

Rosenhan and Seligman explain that the deeper the layer at which dysfunction occurs, the more difficult it becomes for the individual to change. Sexual performance is most easily changed. As the deepest layer, sexual identity is the most difficult; not accepting one’s sexual identity, transsexuality, is a problem that reasonably cannot be expected to change.


Rosenhan, D. L, & Seligman, E. P. (1995). Abnormal psychology (3rd ed.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Topic 7.2—Childhood Precursors of Sexual Behavior

Treatments of adolescent sexual behavior in textbooks almost always make it seem as though sexual behavior arises for the first time early in adolescence. There is little if any discussion of relevant childhood behavior. This is a golden opportunity for a lecture on the developmental precursors of adolescent sexual behavior.

You could begin by disabusing students of the notion that children do not engage in anything like sexual behavior. Kinsey compiled data from men’s and women’s retrospective accounts about sex play during childhood, and it is clear that children both masturbate and engage in sex play with each other. You can cite and display these data, and discuss their meaning. For example, there is a gradual increase in sex play for boys from ages 5 to 13, but a decline over the same period for girls. Boys’’ and girls’’ sex play is divided about equally between same and opposite sex peers. Pause in your lecture to let students discuss the meaning of these facts. Perhaps they will suggest that the sex difference in sex play is related to sex difference in sexual activity at adolescence. They will probably want to know more about the nature and significance of “homosexual” sex play.

Next, present your own ideas about the meaning of these data. There appears to be little discussion of typical sexual activity among children, save the usual cross-cultural comparisons in anthropological work. Ask students if childhood activity itself is in its own right truly sexual behavior independent of labels or explanations adults who become aware of it put on it. This is an opportunity for you to speculate about the combined effect of physical development, socialization, and a child’s growing knowledge of life along with an increasing awareness of sex, sexuality, and sexual behavior.


Kinsey, A. C.; Pomeroy, W. B., & Martin, C. E. (1948). Sexual behavior in the human male. Philadelphia: Saunders.

Schlegel, A., & Barry, H. III. (1991). Adolescence: An anthropological inquiry. New York: Free Press.

Topic 7.3—Hormones and Sexual Behavior


First,pointoutthattheresearchwehaveonthetopicismainlycorrelationalorclinical,whichrendersitinconclusiveconcerningcausalmechanisms.Thensuggestthatsocialmechanismseasily couldeasilybejustaspowerfulabases basisfortheassociationofhormonelevelsandsex.Forexample,youshouldbeabletocitemediarepresentationsofadolescentsassex-crazedpeople, as well as less intense representations of sex as being an important concern to teenagers.

Youmaybeabletolocateclinicalevidenceabouttherelationshipbetweentreatmentswithandrogensforrenalglanddysfunctionandsexlife,forexample,ofthewomenwhoreceivethem.Theresearchsuggeststhattheinfluenceisvariable.ConsultalsoHerantKatchadourian’sbook,TheBiologyofAdolescenceforadditionalinformation.Katchadourian HydeandLunde’s Delamater’sbook,UnderstandingHumanSexualityhassomeinterestinginformationonchildrenthatmayberelevant and helpful.

Use sources such as these to develop your own position. Hormones both provide a necessary biological mechanism that supports the biological aspects of sexual behavior and intensifies the rewarding consequences of sexual behavior (pleasure, orgasm), but not necessarily a hydraulic need for sex. This is a useful position to develop if you later want to talk about the possibility of making teenagers, especially males, more responsible for their sexual activity.


Coe, C., et al. (1988). Hormones at puberty: Activation or concatenation? In M. R. Gunnar and W. A. Collins (Eds.), Development during the transition to adolescence: The Minnesota symposia on child psychology, 21, 17-–41.

Hyde, J. S., & Delamater, J. D. (2000). Understanding human sexuality (7th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Katchadourian, H. (1977). The biology of adolescence.San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.

Classroom Discussions and Activities

Discussion Topics

Discussion 7.1—Sexual Attitudes and Behavior

As a way of introducing the chapter sections dealing with sexual attitudes and behavior, conduct an anonymous sexual attitude survey like the following one in class:

1.Do you approve of premarital sex?

2.Do you feel you must be in love with someone before having sex with that person?

3.Is homosexuality between consenting adults morally acceptable?

4.Do you think young people are more sexually promiscuous than they were a generation ago?

5.Does sexual experimentation before marriage contribute to later marital satisfaction and happiness?

6.Is masturbation morally wrong?

7.Does sex education lead to promiscuity?

8.Is there any sexual behavior that you consider completely taboo?

Thisexerciseisagoodpreludetoputtingtheoften-emotionalissuesofadolescentsexualityinproperperspective.Thevarietiesofmotivationforengaginginadolescentsexualactivitycanalsobementionedtoorsolicitedfromstudents(e.g.,sexasameanstoanend,sexasa form of negative identity and acting out, sex for locker-room credibility, romanticizing maternity).


Walraven, M. G. (1993). Instructor’s course planner to accompany Adolescence (5th ed.) by J. W. Santrock. Dubuque: Brown and Benchmark, Publishers.

Discussion 7.2—Teenage Pregnancy Rates

Encouraged students to think about the serious social problems created by the high rate of adolescent pregnancy. The NationalCenter for Education in Maternal and Child Health explains that over 900,000 American adolescents become pregnant annually. The rate of pregnancy in the U.S.nited States has declined by 22 percent, yet continues at a rate that is four times as high as France, Germany, and Japan. The effects for teenage mothers and their children are late school completion, health risks for mothers and infants, and poverty. The consequences for society are serious and enduring. Teenage pregnancy currently costs the United States U.S. more than $7 billion per year. Statistics published in 1990 showed that half of all teenage mothers, and 75 percent of unmarried teenage moms, received welfare within 5 five years of giving birth to their first child. Families with a single parent have the greatest impact on poverty experienced by children. The long-term effects are likely to be more devastating. Currently, 45 percent of first-born children and 33 percent of all children in the United States U.S. have mothers who are unmarried, teenagers, or mothers without a high school degree. The consequences for these children are increased disabilities, poor educational preparation, and continued poverty.

The number of girls who become pregnant between the ages of 15 and 19 years will increase by 2.2 million between 1995 and 2010. How will we respond to this growing crisis? Show students examples of media materials that have been developed to prevent and deal with the problems of teen pregnancy. The Children’s Defense Fund, for example, has posters of adolescent mothers and their babies. These posters make statements such as, “The one on the left will finish high school before the one on the right,’’ and “It’s like being grounded for eighteen years.” You can then lead a discussion concerning the effectiveness of such materials. How can the adolescent’s personal fable be penetrated? How can future planning and mature contraceptive behavior in sexually active adolescents, and the postponement of sexual involvement be encouraged?


NationalCenter for Education in Maternal and Child Health, 2115 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Suite 601, Washington, DC20007-2292,

Trad, P. V. (1999). Assessing the patterns that prevent teenage pregnancy. Adolescence, 34, 221-–240.

Discussion 7.3—Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The text does not discuss some common sexually transmitted diseases that may present less immediate danger, but are annoying and can have long-term damaging effects if untreated.

Genital warts are caused by a virus that is transmitted sexually called the human papillomavirus (HPV). The warts are small, often barely visible, and may be flat or resemble cauliflower. They grow on the penis, vagina, or cervix, as well as in and around the rectum and throat. Some strains of the HPV virus have warts that can cause cell changes that lead to genital cancers such as cervical cancer. The warts may bleed during delivery and the virus can be passed to babies during childbirth. The warts can be removed, but the virus may continue in the body indefinitely. Incubation periods and recurrence can occur within 18 months of treatment.