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That pressure affects both sexes but seems particularly common among boys, leading to early sexual activity less because they want it and more because they believe it’s time they did.
Social Norming While each of us is influenced by what we view as common and acceptable behavior, this is especially true during adolescence, when an almost innate drive to “go along to get along” can weight decision-making. ” Fifteen-year-old Kevin had oral sex with a girl he hardly knew because, “I thought everyone else had done it.” And fourteen-year-old Jake rates feeling pressured to have sex as the single biggest source of stress in his life.This developmental disconnect accounts for all types of destructive decisions, from driving drunk to having unprotected sex.But all of that can explain the motivation behind teen sexual behavior for generations, so why the dramatic shift in adolescent attitudes lately?As one high school teen put it, “If you watch TV, you just assume everyone is having sex.” Fourteen-year-old Bridget concurs, saying that the media plays a big role in teen decision-making about sex, sending the message that “Sex is good.” Fifteen-year-old Scott adds, “Television, movies, and music add to the pressure of wanting to have sex.
They portray how men should be masculine and hook up with women.” And Robert, a college senior, recalls his race to have intercourse at age eighteen: “I didn’t want to go into college being a virgin, because movies like American Pie made it clear you lost your virginity in high school.” In short, content equals consequence. A study conducted at the University of California, Santa Barbara, found that (Kunkel 2003): Reality Gap Many adults are simply unaware of the pressures and choices young people face every day when it comes to sexual behavior.The results indicate that adolescents who engage in early sexual behavior experience higher levels of stress and depression than their nonsexually-active peers do.Of course, it’s hard to know which is the chicken and which is the egg.The setting (a school bus) and the audience (classmates) made it especially unappealing, but really not that surprising.