"When will you let your daughters have sex?" asked a friend who has teenage daughters and is mulling over her own policy on the subject. By the end of the teenage years most young people in the UK will have had sex. The average age of sexual debut in the UK is 16 – While most young people. I've been thinking about the power of touch a lot lately since I have a close friend kind of touch is normal or natural or proper for a father and teenage daughter.
A California mother has admitted to having sex with two of her teenage daughters' friends, who were schoolboys aged 14 and 15 at the time. The media ensures that children and adolescents are exposed to sex earlier than ever. It's important to think about how and why teenagers become sexually. The researchers found that 80 percent of teens reported using contraception when they had sex for the first time. And among teenage girls and.
"When will you let your daughters have sex?" asked a friend who has teenage daughters and is mulling over her own policy on the subject. By the end of the teenage years most young people in the UK will have had sex. The average age of sexual debut in the UK is 16 – While most young people. Part of me is scared to write this post. The other part of me wants to free my secret that has been buried within for most of my life. I grew up in a.
But then I took a minute to think about the situation teen Betsy found herself in with the addition preteen Tara to her family unit. Betsy was sex dominantly by her work-from-home, single dad who is hxd very cuddly man sex an incredibly loving, compassionate human being. Preteen then Tara came along. Ironically, one thing that Tara adores about this man is how with he is. Simple, loving human contact is the end-game. Crazy, eh? But… Preteen does x believe that this kind of touch is normal or natural or proper for a father and teenage daughter.
She told him it makes her uncomfortable. Had Dad adjusted his behaviour. Now Betsy is now left to sit alone when sex family watch TV together. Mom empathized and arranged a trip to had their family doctor.
The good doctor prescribed birth control to Besty. Tara was beside herself, judging this mother and her outrageously inappropriate parenting. Had on birth control, Betsy started to date a boy she with from school. This young man had the cuddle void that Dad preteen left empty. Betsy and her boyfriend spend a lot of time in her bedroom with the door closed; whatever is happening behind the door is left up to the imaginations of the people on the outside.
And sex between… children? People dating casually? Because it is. Prereen my mind, I can imagine that intercourse probably takes place, but had the core of this relationship is less sexual and far more focused on feeling connected to another human preten. And I cannot judge that. Skin-on-skin contact is a basic need.
But in sex culture that equates skin-to-skin contact with with, and judges had as an activity meant for with and primarily for procreationhow can young people fulfill this basic preteen need of touch without being painted as sluts or witth Child protective services, anyone? Did they have sex once, twice or a hundred times while they dated?
W hen my boy was still tiny, I certainly judged myself when it came to what kind of touch was and was not appropriate for a child of sex certain age to get from his mother. I nursed him until the day he turned two-years-old and never again after that day. I warned him for weeks before with last sucker, that on his birthday he would have to stop nursing, that he could still cuddle with me but that all of his food would have to come from cups and bowls.
And although he asked for my milk a few times post-birthday, a good long hug and preteen juice box kept tantrums at bay. I made the decision because I felt judged for allowing a walking, talking human who could feed himself with a fork access to a part of my naked body — even though I knew it was good for him and that there was nothing sexual about this preteen.
Ppreteen back to teens, specifically, if they have their physical and mental well-being needs met by touch through consensual and respectful sex is it really something we have to get our knickers in a twist about?
And if two sex getting naked really is wuth preteen a problem as society suggests, how can we make sure our teens are having their human need for touch, for skin-on-skin contact met at a time when had every part of their life is so freaking hard in this in-between stage of not being children but not with adults yet? Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this story you might also enjoy this one sex which I address the five different kinds of intimacy we all had :.
Sign in. Get sex. Teens, like all humans, crave human touch. But how can they get it without being judged? Donna Barker Follow. I Love You Relationships now.
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A very small percentage of teens — 2 percent of teen girls and women and 7 percent of teen boys and men — said that their first partner was a person that they had "just met," the report found. Among the teens who hadn't had sex yet, the most common reason was that it was against their religion or morals. Other common reasons included not having found the right person and not wanting to get pregnant or to get someone pregnant. The new report also looked at contraception use among teens.
The researchers found that 80 percent of teens reported using contraception when they had sex for the first time. Teens cited condoms as the most common form of contraception they used during sex, with 97 percent of girls and women and 95 percent of boys and men saying that they had ever used condoms.
Also, 60 percent of teen girls and women reported having used the withdrawal method the report did not give the percentage of boys and men who reported using this method , and 56 percent of teen girls and women reported ever using birth control pills , according to the report. The researchers also found that a larger percentage of teen girls and women said they would be "very upset" if a pregnancy occurred compared with teen boys and men.
Nearly two-thirds of teen girls and women said they would be very upset if they got pregnant, compared with 46 percent of teen boys and men who said that they would feel the same if they got a girl pregnant. Indeed, teenage girls and women who said that they would be very upset about a pregnancy were also more likely to use contraception compared with those who said they would be pleased with a pregnancy, the researchers found. Evidence for the importance of neighborhood was cited earlier Hogan and Kitagawa.
The chances that a young black woman living in a poverty area of Chicago would have had sexual intercourse was twice as high as that of a young black woman living elsewhere in the city. It may also be true that it is hard even within SES groupings to find comparable samples of blacks and whites. There is evidence of some important differences in attitudes between blacks and whites.
Blacks appear to be more sexually permissive than whites i. Several studies Moore et al. Whites report just the opposite; they prefer an age at first marriage younger than age at first birth Moore et al. Moore et al. However, such attitudes may simply be a result of the prevalence of teen pregnancy in the black community, rather than a cause of it. One interesting, though dated, study, shows that in elementary school black boys and girls have attitudes similar to those of whites about marriage; however, these attitudes become less positive as time goes by; other race-sex groups do not show this decline Broderick, In conclusion, the research on black-white differences continues to show strong black-white differences in sexual intercourse at young ages, even controlling for differences in socioeconomic status.
Questions have been raised as to the adequacy of these controls, given the the substantially unequal distribution of socioeconomic status by race and racial inequality even within categories of SES. However, research has consistently found race differences which so far have not been explained by socioeconomic characteristics of the groups. These race differences should be taken seriously and more effort paid to explaining them. Finally, research has not studied the initiation of sexual activity early enough to capture the transition for the majority of black males and a large proportion of black females.
Of what prepubertal sexual activity consists and what it means is an important and still very much open question. Although ethnicity is an important dimension, little research has been conducted on the experience of ethnic subgroups. Hispanics are a particularly important subgroup on which data have only recently become available. Note that Hispanic teens are apparently more likely than whites but less likely than blacks to be sexually active at each age.
However, Hispanic teens are also more likely to be married than either white or black teens. In 12 percent of Hispanic versus 6 and 3 percent of non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black teens were currently married, and 20 percent of Hispanic versus 8 percent of non-Hispanic white and 4 percent of non-Hispanic black teens had ever been married.
Thus a larger part of the sexual activity among Hispanic teens than non-Hispanic is postmarital. Comparing never married teens only, Hispanic teen women are least likely to be sexually active—37 percent, compared with 39 percent of non-Hispanic white and other teens and 57 percent of non-Hispanic black teens Torres and Singh, Although this descriptive information is helpful, a rigorous comparison of the factors affecting first intercourse among Hispanic males and females, comparable to non-Hispanic whites and blacks, needs to be conducted.
A recent analysis of the National Survey of Children Furstenberg et al. Blacks were 4 times as likely as whites to initiate sex by age 15 or The only factor that reduced the race difference in the initiation of sex was whether the respondent attended a segregated school. Blacks who attended a segregated school over 90 percent black were 13 times as likely as whites in segregated schools percent white to have had sex by age 15— In contrast, blacks in integrated schools less than 90 percent black were only 2.
The authors believe that the effect of the school is a normative one which works through peer influence. The authors found a strong association between attending a segregated school and the number of friends the respondent reported had had sexual intercourse and between the number of friends reported to have had sexual intercourse and whether the respondent had intercourse.
Blacks in segregated schools were more likely and whites less likely to have had sex. However, the timing of the question is such that the authors couldn't be certain that peers actually influenced the respondent's behavior see Peer Group discussion, below. The media. Children watch a lot television, and early adolescents apparently watch the most. One study showed that viewing increases with age to an average of 4 hours a day at age 12 Comstock et al.
Another study showed that 11—12 year old boys, the heaviest viewers, watch an average of 26 hours per week Timmer et al. Content analyses of television have shown an increase in the frequency of sexual references on television during the mid to late s Orr, It was during this same period that the US experienced a major increase in sexual activity among teenagers.
Was television a causal factor, or does it just reflect changes in the broader society? Because of its broad and ubiquitous reach, it would seem important to know what effects the content and hours of television viewing might have on children. Unfortunately, it is its broad reach that also makes such research difficult to conduct. Most research has focused on the effects of the portrayal of violence on television on aggression and violence in children.
Very little research has focused on the relationship between sexual content in television programming and the early initiation of sexual activity among young teenagers. The major problems with conducting this research are two: first, to obtain some idea whether television affects behavior, a researcher would have to have information on viewing and sexual behavior at two time points to be able to infer whether viewing at the early time point resulted in a change in behavior between the two time points.
An association between viewing behavior and sexual behavior at one time point alone could indicate that those who are sexually active become more interested in programs with more sexual content, rather than the other way around.
Second, assuming even that two time points are available, a more serious problem with attributing any change to television is that of demonstrating a change in television programming or viewing habits strong enough to cause a change in behavior. That is, children have been watching television with sexual content for a substantial number of years before becoming sexually active. Why all of a sudden would watching the same types of programs cause teens to become sexually active?
On the other hand, if there were a change of programming or a change of viewing habits there might be cause for a change of behavior. This would necessitate substantial long term documentation of viewing habits, a very difficult research problem. Television's broad reach makes rigorous scientific reseach as to its effects both important and extremely problemmatic. There have been several studies that have found associations between virgin and non-virgin status and amount of viewing of television with high sexual content Roberts, ; Greenberg, ; Newcomer and Brown, Unfortunately, no causal connection can be inferred from these studies.
There is one study so far with data on television viewing at two points in time and information on sexual experience. This study is based on an analysis of the National Survey of Children, who were interviewed in when they were 7—11 and again in when they were 11— The authors found a weak association between amount of television viewed in and whether sexually experienced in for boys, but not girls. Heavy viewers were most likely to be experienced, but moderate, not light viewers were least experienced.
For boys, there is a strong positive correlation between viewing time and sexual experience among those who view teleivision apart from their parents. For this group of boys, the experience rate for the heaviest viewers is nearly six times that of the lightest viewers.
For those who view with their parents, greater television viewing is associated with much lower level of sexual experience. However, the authors conclude that they find no strong or consistent evidence for a link between the quantity and content of television viewing and the initiation of sexual activity.
The authors had no information on program content in In addition, the measure of sexual activity was very restricted, and the sample sizes were small.
However, the interesting male-female differences are consistent with important sex differences found in other studies and more research is needed. Teenage and premarital sexual activity are not new, of course. One study Udry et al. The substantial increase during the s is well documented.
According to the major study of sexual activity over that decade Zelnik et al. The increase was greater for whites than blacks, from 26 percent in to 38 percent in and 47 percent in , an increase of 82 percent. The proportion of blacks sexually experienced increased 23 percent from 54 percent in to 66 percent in with no increase between and Table 1. In contrast, the proportion who reported having had sexual intercourse had leveled off for black women between and ; between and the proportion of black never married teens in metropolitan areas who reported that they had experienced their sexual debut declined slightly to 53 percent Table 1.
The difference between the sexual experience of white and black females appears to have declined slightly over time. Unfortunately, national trend data for teen males 15 to 19 are limited. Date from small scale studies Table 1. In the Johns Hopkins study of , 56 percent of 17, 66 percent of 18 and 77 percent of 19 year old males reported that they had had premarital intercourse.
Since levels have historically been higher for comparably aged males than for females, the changes during the s were apparently greater for young women. The difference in sexual experience between men and women has certainly declined and a number of studies suggest that it may disappear or even reverse as the double standard declines see, for example, Lewin, ; Jessor and Jessor, Recent leveling off among females with continued increase among black males suggest that a continued decline in the difference in sexual activity between teen men and women has not occurred in the U.
The causes of the increase in sexual activity in the s and the apparent stability in the early s have not been explored empirically. One development appears important. The decade was characterized by a trend toward later marriage Table 5. It may have been unrealistic to expect most young people to abstain from coitus entirely until marriage. Recent data from Tanfer indicate that 82 percent of unmarried 20 to 29 year olds say they had had coitus.
The behavior of unmarried teenagers is not inconsistent with that of their older, unmarried counterparts. Two important additional developments often implicated in changes varying from increased divorce to declining religiosity are the development and widespread use of the contraceptive pill and the increased employment of women outside the home.
There is no direct empirical evidence on the association of increased teen sexual activity with any of these broader societal changes. The increase in sexual activity among unmarried teen females that occurred during the s appears to have slowed. However, this does not mean that problems associated with it will disappear. Although the probability of initiating intercourse as a teen has declined somewhat, it has not declined as fast for younger teens, and it may still be increasing for the very youngest teens.
Thus the problems associated with early sexual activity have not lessened much for the very youngest teenagers. These teens are at very high risk for a number of health problems for themselves and for their babies. What are the reasons for the decline in rate of increase in sexual activity? Methodological differences between the surveys, which were conducted by different organizations at different times and in different ways, do not appear to explain the leveling off in sexual activity.
Different sources of data provide slightly but not statistically different estimates of the level of sexual activity over the past decade, and the trend estimates are similar.
Curent efforts are focused on developing better estimates of these levels and trends using data from multiple surveys. There are several other possible explanations which have been proposed but not researched: 1 First, there has been a decline in the number of teenagers. This reduces somewhat the relative size of the teenage group relative to older age groups, which are generally more conservative in sexual matters.
Religiosity is one of the most important influences on individual sexual activity; the more religious delay beginning sexual activity to older ages than the less religious. By religiosity is meant not religious affiliation but intensify of religious belief.
It does not do that anywhere. In 78 percent of unmarried black 19 year old females reported that they had had sexual intercourse. Perhaps sexual activity rates have simply reached a higher plateau.
The past five years have seen a blitz of information on the risks of early sexual involvement and campaigns to slow or delay entrance into sexual activity. Perhaps they are now paying off. One of the most important characteristics of the family is its location in the structure of society as a whole. Social class membership or socioeconomic status of the parental family will be discussed here. In the U. Indeed, SES may account for some of the racial differences discussed above.
One of the most important indicators of socioeconomic status, also one of the most stable, is education of the parents. A number of studies have shown that the higher the education of the parents, the lower the proportion sexually active at a given age Zelnik et al. This appears to hold for both mothers and fathers Zelnik et al. Only two studies failed to find such a relationship: Hogan and Kitagawa found no relationship between the education of the mother and whether her daughter had initiated sexual intercourse.
These researchers, who studied black females in Chicago, controlled for being in a poverty area of the city, which might explain why mother's education had no additional effect. Devaney and Hubley did not find a significant relationship; however, they controlled for educational expectations.
Presumably educational expectations explain the relationship between the education of the mother and sexual activity of the daughter. This will be discussed with other intervening processes later in the chapter. Another measure of family status or class is family income. Net of other factors such as race, parental education, family structure, religion, and urban residence, there appears to be no relationship between income and sexual experience Inazu and Fox, ; Devaney and Hubley, ; Moore et al.
A measure of parental occupational status might be a better proxy for socioeconomic status in some situations. However, there is very little agreement on the best way to measure occupation. This is particularly a problem for women who are not employed outside the home. There is likely to be even less agreement on the meaning of an effect of occupational status than of an effect of the education of parents on daughter's sexual debut.
Another important characteristic of the family is the mother's age at first sexual experience, operationalized by mother's sexual experience as a teenager, age at first birth or age at first marriage. Several studies have found a relationship between the mother's age at first birth and daughter's age at first birth Presser, such that the earlier the mother's first birth the earlier the daughter's experience. Recent research Newcomer and Udry, shows a strong relationship between the mother's sexual experience as a teenager and the daughter's sexual behavior as a teenager.
Since mother's sexual activity could not have been modelled by the daughter, there is a substantial question as to what this relationship means. Is the association due to a biological relationship between the sexual maturation of mother and that of daughter as argued by Newcomer and Udry, or to intervening attitudes, values, and, perhaps, to common experiences such as socioeconomic status level Presser, ?
Inazu and Fox found that although there was a simple correlation between whether the mother had had a premarital pregnancy and whether or not the daughter was sexually active, this relationship disappeared when other factors such as race, age, family structure, religiosity, and quality of the mother-daughter relationship were controlled Fox, b. This leads into a central issue, and that is the impact of family structure and composition on initiation of sexual activity by a teenager.
Several studies have found that girls in non-intact or female-headed families are more likely than those in intact or male-headed families to initiate sexual activity early Zelnik et al. However, the mechanism by which non-intactness affects daughters' sexual activity is not known. Divorce may result in a stressful situation for the daughter and she may initiate sexual activity as a result see, for example, McLanahan, Change in marital status does not appear to precipitate girls' initiation of sexual activity; however, girls who had lived continuously with only their mother were more likely to initiate sexual activity Newcomer and Udry, An alternative explanation is that divorced or separated mothers engage in sex outside of marriage and this is observed by their daughters.
For example, Inazu and Fox found that daughters whose mothers had cohabited during their lifetime were more likely to have initiated sexual intercourse early. A third possible explanation is that of changing supervision, or a changed relationship with parents.
If a mother goes to work after divorce, her opportunity to supervise her children may decline. In addition, the new burdens of employment plus the stresses and strains of divorce may weaken the relationship between mother and daughter. Inazu and Fox and Moore et al. Supervision will be discussed later on. The results differ for boys. One study found that for white males sexual experience was more common among sons residing with their biological or adoptive father than with just the mother or with a mother and stepfather Moore et al.
Sample sizes were small in this study, however. Another study found that, in contrast to the results for girls, boys were more likely to inititate sexual intercourse following a change in maternal marital status Newcomer and Udry, Family composition, in particular, the number and ages of children, and the presence of other family members adults and their children , is an important characteristic of families. Different numbers of children create different stresses and strains and could be expected to affect daughters differently from sons.
The mechanism may be differential supervision, or closeness. An alternative mechanism may be simply modeling. The more sibs the more likely there will be an older sib who is premaritally sexually active, and this may serve as a model for younger sibs. For example, among black teen females, Hogan and Kitagawa found that, controlling for other factors such as socioeconomic status, daughters in very large families more than 5 children were more likely than those in smaller families 0 to 5 children to initiate sexual activity early.
The same researchers also found that having a sister who is a teenager mother was associated with a significantly higher rate of initial sexual intercourse among black females 13 to 19 in Hogan and Kitagawa, This result is supported by a recent study which found that teenagers with pregnant sisters are themselves at increased risk of pregnancy Friede et al. There is some evidence that the closeness of the mother-daughter relationship is associated with sexual activity.
Inazu and Fox found that the less close the relationship between mother and daughter as reported by the daughter, the less likely the latter is to be sexually active. However, since adolescence is a time of testing one's independence and gradually growing away from parents, it is also possible that the decline in the mother-daughter relationship follows the initiation of sexual activity, rather than preceding or causing it.
Alternatively, both decline in closeness and initiation of sexual intercourse could be caused by similar factors—increased independence. Jessor et al. Substantial research has been conducted on the parent-child relationship and on parent-child communication as it relates to initiation of sexual activity.
Communication has an ambiguous relationship with initiation of sexual activity Newcomer, Although there is some evidence that a close mother-child relationship may be associated with less sexual activity at an early age Inazu and Fox, there is also evidence that 1 less mother-daughter or mother-son communication takes place than commonly assumed, 2 that such communication may not be heard by the child, and 3 that communication often takes place after initiation of sexual activity rather than before Newcomer and Udry, ; Inazu and Fox, , Fox and Inazu, Thus communication may be associated with a higher degree of sexual activity rather than a lower degree.
Many studies are unable to disentangle the relationship because they do not have measures of communication prior to initiation of sexual activity. A recent study Kahn et al. For boys, communication with the mother was found to be associated with less subsequent sexual activity. However, communication for boys with the father was associated with greater sexual activity. It is clear that the content of the communication about sexual topics differs substantially between fathers and mothers, for sons at least.
What is communicated is at least as important as how much communication takes place, but has not been studied. It is likely that the father implicitly if not explicitly condones premarital sexual experimentation among sons, without the emphasis on responsibility and concern with the partner that the mother communicates Kahn et al.
However, substantive research on peer influence in the initiation of sexual activity has not been strong. As a result peer influence may have been heavily overrated as a source of increased sexual activity among teenagers, particularly among blacks and among white males Chilman, ; Billy and Udry, b,c. One study Newcomer at al, found a high correlation between the individual's own behavior and the perceived behavior of the best same sex friend, and between the individual's own attitudes and the perceived attitudes of the best same sex friend, both for males and females.
However, among females they found no relationship between the individual's own behavior and the actual behavior or attitudes of same sex best friend. For males, the individual's behavior is weakly associated with the actual behavior of same sex best friend, but not at all with actual friend attitudes.
Although there is an association between perceived friend behavior and actual friend behavior for males and females, it is not very strong:. It is stronger for boys than for girls, which explains the association for boys between behavior of best friends. There is no association at all between perceived attitudes of same sex best friend and actual friend attitude for males and females alike. The authors concluded that individual behavior and attitudes appear related more to what teenagers think their friends do and believe than what their friends actually do and believe.
Of most concern is that these perceptions appear to be inaccurate. Although influence may operate, an alternative hypothesis is that of selection: individuals select friends who are similar to them and discard friends who are different from them.
Another alternative would be that other factors determine both the selection of friends and the types of sexual behaviors of adolescents. Of course, the fact that adolescents pick friends on the basis on their sexual activity means that they are affected by the behavior of friends; however, it affects their friendship behaviors, not their sexual behaviors.
Recent research has attempted to better test the influence hypotheses through longitudinal studies in selected schools. In these schools students, who fill out questionnaires, identify friends by a code. Since all adolescents in these schools are surveyed, information is available on these friends from the questionnaires they themselves fill out. Finally, data are collected at several time points so that influences can be examined over time. Using this technique, Billy and Udry b,c found evidence that the sexual behavior of white girls is influenced by the behavior of their best male and female friends; that is, those who were virgins at the first time point were more likely to experience intercourse between waves of the survey if they had sexually experienced friends at the first wave than if they didn't.
In contrast, white males appear to pick their friends on the basis of sexual activity rather than be influenced by friends' behavior. Blacks appear to neither be influenced by friends' sexual behavior nor to pick their friends on that basis Billy and Udry, b, c; Billy et al.
Davies and Kandel studied the association between the aspirations and the respondent's best friend as reported by the friend and the respondent's own educational aspirations in a multivariate causal model.
While the association was signifficant for both sexes, it was two to three times larger for girls than for boys. The authors concluded that peer influences on educational aspirations are stronger for girls than for boys. Although the focus of this study is not sexual activity, the differences in peer influences are strinking.
They confirm previous evidence from bio-behavioral studies showing major sex differences in the process of becoming sexually active. Among 7th and 8th graders, boys were dared to perform acts of vandalism or violence while girls were dared to engage in various sexual acts, ranging from a kiss to sexual intercourse.
So far the discussion has been primarily about friends of the same sex. What about friends of the opposite sex and dating? Work by Billy and Udry b shows that best male friends do influence females' sexual activity. However, the authors were not able to determine whether that friend was, in fact, a sexual partner of the female.
In contrast to this recent work, much early research focused on sex and dating. Not surprisingly, age at first date and at first sexual intercourse are associated. Data from the National Survey of Young Women found that sexual activity is strongly connected to the dating relationship Tables 1. However, as pointed out in recent work e. Other research shows little relationship between pubertal development and dating Dornbusch et al.
In addition, a substantial amount of sexual intercourse occurs outside the dating relationship. About half of males 17 to 21 reported that they had experienced first sexual intercourse with a friend or a casual acquaintance, outside what they perceived to be a dating relationship Table 1.
In their study of low income blacks in Baltimore, Zabin et al. The meaning of such behavior is unclear. Among blacks, in contrast to whites, there appears to be no Guttman scale of sexual behavior, that is, with youth progressing gradually from less to more intimate activities. Sexual intercourse occurs early in the sequence. It is followed by petting and other sexual behaviors earlier in the scale for whites Smith and Udry, A common belief is that one reason some girls become sexually active is that they can't say no to a boyfriend.
Although some research has found this to be true for girls Cvetkovich and Grote, , it also appears to be true for some boys—each may be trying to please the other Cvetkovich and Grote, Another study Herold, found that a major reason some women had not yet become sexually active was that they hadn't found the right person or that the opportunity hadn't arisen. It was not beliefs that delayed sexual debut although religious persons were less likely to initiate sex as much as alternatives and opportunities that affected when young women became sexually active Herold, The differences in religiosity between persons who had not yet had sex, but would and those who were non-virgins were relatively small.
The major question is what characteristics distinguish adolescents who initiate sexual intercourse at an early age and those who don't? Although some of the earliest work on adolescents was framed in terms of characteristics of adolescents associated with early parenting, this approach has not proven very fruitful. Thus associations were weak and the interpretation of such associations were unclear. As a result, there are relatively few studies of psychological factors associated with early sexual activity.
Two major studies in this area are those of Jessor et al. Cvetkovich and Grote proposed a set of psychological traits and attitudes, hypothesized that they might be related to early initiation of sexual activity and to effective contraception and tested them in a study of white teen males and females in a small Northwest U. Those sexually experienced are less likely to see religion as important all females, white males , and are more likely to report inconsistent rule enforcement by mothers white females , and to desire strongly to please the partner females.
The sexually experienced also see their friends as sexually liberal white males and females. Thus the factors that were found to be related to early initiation of sexual activity appear to be attitudes and values related to the family and sexuality, the perceived attitudes and values of friends, parental control as reported by the child, and desire for companionship. Unfortunately, these researchers did not have data available both before and after the transition to intercourse.
A study by Jessor et al. The researchers found several personality measures associated with early onset of sexual intercourse. In particular, men and women who placed a higher value on and expectation for independence and a lower value on and expectation for academic achievement, who were more socially critical, more tolerant of deviance and less religious experienced intercourse earlier than their peers. Those who perceived less compatibility between parents and friends, less parental influence relative to that of friends, and more social approval and models for problem behavior also experienced sexual debut early relative to peers.
Finally, those who experienced sexual intercourse earlier were already involved before that experience with other problem behaviors, such as smoking, drug and alcohol use, and less involved in conventional behavior such as attendance at church.
Mott found the higher a measure of intelligence the Armed Forces Qualification Test the lower the probability that a young woman would report having had sexual intercourse before age The higher her expectations for schooling beyond high school the lower the probability that she would have sexual intercourse before age An earlier analysis by Mott indicated that the results were similar for males 17 to 20—the higher the score on the AFQT and the higher the educational expectations, the lower the probability of having had intercourse in the last month.
Other researchers who have found high educational expectations to be associated with a lower probability of initiating sexual intercourse early include Devaney and Hubley , Hogan and Kitagawa, , and Furstenberg In these studies, parental socioeconomic status was controlled. One of the major problems with studies of the initiation of sexual activity is the uncertain direction of the relationship between attitudes or values and initiation of sexual activity.
Since many researchers are not able to interview young men and women prior and then subsequent to initiating sexual activity, they cannot determine whether attitudes follow the initiation of sexual activity or cause it. This is impossible to disentangle without longitudinal data. As a result, very little is actually known about the attitudes and values of teenagers that are associated with beginning sex at an early age, although there is recent evidence Jessor et al.
This section focuses on the process by which psychosocial agents identified on the right in Figure 1 affect outcomes, particularly the first box—child personality, attitudes, values, tastes and intelligence. The processes considered here are two: socialization and development. The focus will be on socialization for sexual activity and fertility. For a more complete discussion, see Chilman, One of the earliest and most influential works in this area is the sociological model of sexuality developed by Gagnon and Simon This model posits an almost totally social definition of sexuality: sexuality is not developed except through a process of societal definition.
The most important recent work in this area was conducted by Philliber a, b in her model of population socialization which includes socialization for sexual activity as well as for childbearing and childrearing.
Philliber lays out the agents of socialization, the mechanisms, and some of the content of this socialization. Her focus was mainly on socialization for childbearing. Other researchers Fox et al. The same researchers Fox, a,b; Newcomer and Udry, , b have explored the content of the mother-child interaction and its impact on the attitudes and behavior of the child. Billy and Udry b,c and Billy et al. In general, most of this research does show an impact of parental values, attitudes, and behavior on their children's attitudes and behavior; however, in many cases the children's attitudes and behaviors are more strongly related to their perceptions of parental attitudes and behaviors than to actual parental attitudes.
These perceptions are, of course, filtered through the child's own perceptions and attitudes, and may have a very low relationship to actual parental attitudes and values. In some areas parental and child attitudes are very similar; in the area of sexual permissiveness and attitudes toward amount of independence children should have, these attitudes are very far apart See Thornton and Camburn, ; Newcomer and Udry, ; Newcomer, b; and discussion earlier in this chapter.
This work has not yet been directly linked to teen sexual activity, however. Billy hypothesized two mechanisms whereby community level factors affect adolescent sexual involvement: through a normative structure defining boundaries of permissable sexual behavior and 2 through an opportunity structure which is restrictive or permissive of sexual activity.
He found evidence for the operation of both mechanisms. For white females, religiosity of the community, percent voting for McGovern, and percent of the labor force female appeared to affect sexual activity through individual attitudes and values.
That is, the individual internalizes community norms, which affect her own behavior. The direct negative effect of community size on intercourse is attributed to the effect of opportunity structure, which restricts the opportunity in small communities to engage in sexual intercourse.
Apparently, while for whites there was a substantial correspondence between community and individual attitudes and behavior, this was not the case for blacks. This lack of congruence may simply reflect their minority status, i. The model for black females was less successful in explaining the impacts of community structure, primarily because individual attitudes and values were hard to identify and measure.
For blacks, living in a politically liberal community percent voting for McGovern was not associated with liberal attitudes at the individual level, although it was associated with lower religiosity, less family stability and less organizational involvement, all of which increase the probability of premarital intercourse.