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Chapter 9: Love & Sexuality

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1 Chapter 9: Love & Sexuality
Samuel R. Mathews, Ph.D. Department of Psychology The University of West Florida

2 Love Changes across the adolescent years Stage 1—The Search
Same sex groups seek out opportunities for interactions with other sex groups (e.g. malls, parks, sporting events) Stage 2—The Adults Step In Adult-organized events that serve as mixers (e.g. dances, birthday parties, awards banquets) for mixed sex interactions

3 Love Changes across the adolescent years
Step 3—The Herds Merge Mixed sex groups arrange on their own to share common activities (e.g. sporting events, movies, concerts) Step 4—Parents’ Worst Nightmare or Coupling and Pairing Individuals begin dyadic relationships and activities (e.g. dinner, movies, concerts, long walks on the beach) Changes tend to be age graded and not based on physical maturation

4 Love Progression of preferences: Functional aspects
Early and middle adolescents Recreation Intimacy Status College students Companionship

5 Love Progression of preferences: Mate selection Middle adolescence
Males—physical attraction Females—interpersonal qualities Late adolescence Females and males—interpersonal qualities

6 Dating Scripts Cultural Scripts for Historical Dating
Male Script (Proactive) Includes: initiating the date deciding where to go controlling the public domain (driving the car) initiating sexual contact Female Script (Reactive) Includes: private domain (grooming & dress) responding to the male’s gestures in the public domain responding to his sexual initiatives

7 Love Sternberg’s Love triangle
Passion: physical attraction and sexual intimacy Intimacy: closeness and emotional attachment Commitment: long-term and sustaining promise of affiliation and fidelity

8 Love: Sternberg

9 Love: Sternberg Sternberg’s Theory: Adolescent Perspective
In most adolescent love relationships, commitment is either missing or highly tentative The absence of long-term commitment in adolescence means that there are two principal types of adolescent love: infatuation and romantic love Lack of commitment in Western Industrialized cultures likely due to delayed marriage

10 Love: Brown’s (1999) View: Brown’s model contains four phases that recognizes the important role played by peers and friends : Initiation phase First tentative explorations of love; usually superficial, brief and often fraught with anxiety, fear, and excitement Status phase Begin to gain confidence in their interaction skills with potential romantic partners Remain acutely aware of the evaluations of their friends and peers

11 Love: Brown’s (1999) View: 3. Affection phase
Adolescents come to know each other better and express deeper feelings for each other Beginning to engage in more extensive sexual activity 4. Bonding phase (usually occurs in emerging adulthood vs. adolescence) The romantic relationship becomes more enduring and serious – partners begin to discuss the possibility of a lifelong commitment

12 Get Over It! Breaking Up How might typical adolescent love (passion and intimacy) contribute to break-ups? Outcomes of break-up: Sadness, bitterness, depression Likely due to adolescent egocentrism—personal fable Generally short-lived

13 Get Over It! Breaking Up Emerging Adulthood and Breaking Up
Relationship characteristics linked to breaking up: Lower levels of intimacy and love Fewer common characteristics Greater commitment on the part of one partner than the other Reasons for breaking up: Boredom Females more likely to end the relationship than males Males’ impacted by the break-up for longer periods of time

14 Post-Break-up Harassment
Romantic Harassment: Persistent use of psychological or physical abuse to maintain the relationship once one partner has ended it. Goal is to maintain the relationship Most frequently males harass females What forms might this take?

15 Cohabitation Highest rates of cohabitation in North America and Northern Europe Myth: Cohabitation reduces the likelihood of divorce once marriage occurs Reality: Higher rates of couples who cohabitated ended marriage with divorce

16 Cohabitation Failure of post-cohabitation marriage likely due to two factors: Those who cohabitate develop habits that impede transition to marriage Those who cohabitate are likely different from those who do not in value of marriage Cohabitating couples may not be compatible for marriage commitment

17 Sexuality The following slides reflect data from the 2007 administration of the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and

18 Percentage of High School Students Who Ever Had Sexual Intercourse, by Sex* and Race/Ethnicity,** 2007

19 The Good News 61.5% of adolescents reporting intercourse, reported that either they or their partner had used a condom during last sexual intercourse. Overall, the prevalence of having used a condom during last sexual intercourse was higher among male than female students, and higher among black than white students. Now, the bad news

20 Percentage of High School Students Who Were Tested for HIV. , by Sex
Percentage of High School Students Who Were Tested for HIV*, by Sex** and Race/Ethnicity,*** 2007 Nationwide in 2007, 12.9% of high school students had been tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Overall, the prevalence of HIV testing was higher among female than male students and higher among black than white and Hispanic students. * Does not include tests conducted when donating blood. ** F > M *** B > W, H National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2007

21 Sexuality Patterns of adolescent sexual exploration:
Masturbation Necking/Petting Sexual Intercourse Oral Sex Initial sexual exploration does not necessarily lead to continued sexual activity Rates of sexual activity vary by sex and ethnicity

22 Sexuality: Pornography
Changes over time: Historically, print media and “adult” films were the dominant media and more limited with at least some limitations for age Internet has made age limits weaker and access more private and less open to parental monitoring. Parental monitoring of access to internet in the home is one preventative step

23 Sexuality Cultural Variations and Adolescent Sexuality
Restrictive Cultures: Limited access to potential sexual partners Punishment for violation of sexual prohibitions Double standard for males (more permissive) than females (more restrictive) Semirestrictive Cultures: Generally, adolescent sexual behavior before marriage is prohibited If discreet, adolescent sexual behavior is ignored Should pregnancy occur, marriage is highly encouraged

24 Sexuality Cultural Variations and Adolescent Sexuality
Permissive Cultures Adolescent sexual behavior allowed Adolescents frequently receive instruction from older members of the culture Most western cultures range from semirestrictive to somewhat permissive

25 Sexuality Gender & Sexual Scripts:
Cognitive frameworks for understanding how a sexual experience is supposed to proceed and how sexual experiences are to be interpreted Learned through cultural interactions In our culture: Males initiate sexual encounters Females set the limits on how far the sexual episode is allowed to progress Sociobiologists see this as grounded in evolutionary perspectives

26 Sexually Active Adolescents
Similar to their non-sexually active peers in Self esteem Life satisfaction Differences include May have lower academic achievement Earlier maturing

27 Sexually Active Adolescents
When sexual activity is initiated early (>15 yrs): Higher likelihood of alcohol/drug involvement Single parent home (low parent monitoring) Higher rates of poverty (presence of peers engaging in risky behavior)

28 Sexual Harassment Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. U.S. EEOC

29 Sexual Harassment Can begin as early as elementary school
Includes but is not limited to: Teasing with sexually oriented taunts Touching Body contact Sexual comments re: dress Sexual advances or requests for sexual behaviors Definitions extend to the classroom (elementary through university)

30 Date/Acquaintance Rape
Use of force or coercion to gain sexual relations 15% of adolescent and 25% of emerging adult females report experiencing date or acquaintance rape Younger females typically experience date or acquaintance rape as their first sexual experience

31 Date/Acquaintance Rape
academic year at UWF had a higher than average incidence of date/acquaintance assault Frequently alcohol is involved Having sex with one who is incapacitated or legally under the influence of alcohol or drugs is rape

32 Gay, Lesbian, & Bisexual Adolescents
Sexual Orientationone’s attraction to others (gay/lesbian, straight, bisexual) Sexual experiencesone’s sexual behaviors Sexual experiences do not equal sexual orientation

33 Gay, Lesbian, & Bisexual Adolescents
Recognition of one’s sexual orientation frequently in early adolescence Coming out (revealing one’s sexual orientation) to one’s friends, family or others begins in mid-adolescence (approx 16 yrs) Sexual orientation linked to a complex interplay of nature and nurture

34 Gay, Lesbian, & Bisexual Adolescents
Homophobia and cultural heterosexism can lead GLB adolescents to hide their identities GLB adolescents’ stress and anxiety linked to the cultural responses to their sexual orientation

35 Contraceptive Use Typically responsibility for birth control falls to the female (sexual script) Across recent years, males’ condom use has increased More available in western and industrialized cultures

36 Contraceptive Use Contraceptive use based on accessibility and planning Possession or use of contraception devices or pills is an admission that sexual activity may possibly occur Likely linked to cognitive development (planning and monitoring one’s emotions and actions)

37 Contraceptive Use Cultural boundaries within the USA create mixed messages for adolescents USA highest among industrialized Western nations in teen birth rate Access to sex education limited due to comprehensive sex education being prohibited in many schools and parents’ lack of communication with adolescents

38 Pregnancy, Parenthood and Abortion
Teen pregnancy is not always linked to continued problems Subsequent problems linked to earlier problems in teens’ families Both teen mothers and fathers frequently experience continued problems Babies born to teen mothers can experience various complications (e.g. premature, low birth weight)

39 Sexuality in Emerging Adulthood
Sexual activity more accepted as adolescents move into emerging adulthood Problems of date rape remain Alcohol frequently related to unprotected sexual activities STD’s continue to be problems as use of condoms may give way to oral contraceptives

40 Sexually Transmitted Diseases
STD’s occur across racial, ethnic, income, social, and educational boundaries Two key problems: Initial stages Asymptomatic Varying latency period between contact and symptoms Review text on various STD’s

41 Sex Education 10 characteristics of effective programs
Focus narrowly on reducing one or more sexual behaviors Base the program on theoretical approaches for other risky behaviours Give a clear message about sexual activity and contraceptive use Provide basic, accurate information about risks and methods Include activities that teach how to deal with social pressures Model and provide practice in negotiation and refusal skills Use a variety of teaching methods Incorporate behavioral goals specific to age, culture and sexual experience Run the program over a sufficient period of time Train teacher, youth workers and peer leaders who believe in the program

42 Discussion Questions:
At what age should adolescents be able to legally give consent to engage in sexual behavior? Justify your reason.

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