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Adolescents' involvement in non-romantic sexual activity

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Manning, Wendy, M.A. Longmore, and P.C. Giordano. 2005. "Adolescents' involvement in non-romantic sexual activity." Social Science Research, 34(2): 384-407.

The majority of teens are having sex, however, we know little about sex that occurs outside the traditional dating context and the factors associated with these non-romantic sexual experiences. Prior work indicates that healthy sexual behaviors depend on the relationship context of sexual intercourse, but research on the characteristics of teens who engage in non-romantic sex is limited. We use two waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to analyze adolescents' reports of non-romantic sexual intercourse, and whether key protective and risk factors as well as normative orientations distinguish the context within which sexual activity occurs. We find that the majority of sexually active teens have had some sexual experience outside of a romantic relationship. We conclude that teenagers' sexual experiences are not static over time, because 60% of sexually active teenagers have had sex in both romantic and non-romantic contexts. Our multivariate analyses indicate that the teen's normative beliefs have significant effects on teenage non-romantic sexual activity. The traditional risk and protective factors often are not related to teens' decisions about sexual partners. These results have implications for our understanding and encouragement of healthy adolescent sexual behaviors.

DOI:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2004.03.001 (Full Text)

Country of focus: United States.

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