Sexual development and behaviors of adolescents

Beth A. Auslander, Susan L. Rosenthal, Margaret J. Blythe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Adolescents are faced with many developmental tasks related to sexuality, such as forming romantic relationships and developing their sexual identities. Many adolescents will engage in a variety of sexual behaviors, including perhaps oral and anal sex, during this time period. Almost half will engage in vaginal sexual intercourse by the end of high school. A number of biological, psychosocial, and sociocultural factors can influence adolescents' romantic relationships and sexual behaviors. Some of these factors (eg, exposure to violence in the home, early pubertal development) may increase an adolescent's risk of being in an unhealthy relationship or engaging in sex at an early age. Parents, clinicians, and communities can support adolescents through these developmental tasks by forming close, connected relationships with teens and devising age-appropriate messages about the development of healthy sexuality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)694-702
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatric Annals
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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