Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950565 | Print ISBN: 9780761928201 | Online ISBN: 9781412950565| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The topic of adolescent sexuality is of great importance in the study of applied developmental science because it represents an area in which many contextual factors influence the development of this innately personal aspect of life. Sexuality, in turn, affects many dimensions of adolescent development. While people are sexual from birth to death, it is the years during adolescence in which they begin to understand and experience their sexuality in preparation for a mature, adult sex life. Spurred by physical bodily changes (including increased levels of sex hormones, the development of secondary sex organs, menarche, or semenarche), a heightened surge of sexual interest begins at the onset of puberty. A key developmental task for an adolescent is becoming a sexually healthy adult. As part of this, adolescents begin to engage in sexual interactions. However, sexuality is not only about sexual behaviors or having sex. It also involves aspects that are ...