222229 Contexts of Adolescent Boys' Early Sexual Experiences

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 1:10 PM - 1:30 PM

Joshua G. Rosenberger, MPH , Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
David Bell, MD MPH , Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Mary Ott, MD , Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
Purpose: Our understanding of early sexual experiences of adolescent boys is limited to counts – age at first sex, number of partners, etc. However, little is known about the relationship contexts in which these sexual experiences occur. Using qualitative methods, we examined the contexts of early romantic and sexual experiences among adolescent boys. Methods: As part of an ongoing longitudinal study of relational and contextual influences on STIs, thirty-three 14-16 year old males were recruited from a teen clinic in Indianapolis. Over 18-24 months, participants completed 3 face-to-face semi-structured interviews and were asked open ended questions about romantic relationships and sexual experiences. Results: At baseline, mean age was 14.9 years, ethnicities included African American (30), white (2), and Latino (1), and 16 were sexually experienced. From a relationship perspective, participants expressed a desire for intimacy, friendship, trust and connection. Few participants described a “gamesmanship” of relationships and sex. Prior to becoming sexually active, many males expressed vulnerability and insecurity about their knowledge of sex, ability to sexually perform and their comfort level toward engaging in sexual activity. Many first sexual experiences were in a casual/spontaneous scenario, even when the young man had an established girlfriend relationship and almost always girls were described as the sexual “initiators.” Conclusions: In contrast to common assumptions about adolescent boys' romantic behavior, we observed an interest in intimacy and investment in relationships. Sex was experienced separately from relationships and these data suggest the need to further explore how these differences influence young men's sexual health.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Understand the factors associated with adolescent boys early sexual experiences Recognize the importance of a) trusting and intimate relationships and b) vulnerability around sexual activity Describe differences that exist for adolescents between romantic relationship and sexual relationships

Keywords: Adolescents, Sexual Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I work in sexual behavioral research for the IU School of Medicine
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.