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Pediatr Ann. 2005 Oct;34(10):785-93.

Sexual Development and behaviors of adolescents.

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Division of Adolescent and Behavioral Health, University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Boulevard, Galveston, TX 77555-0319, USA.


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, healthcare providers, 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.

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