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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. Little research on adolescents has examined developmentally normative facets of sexuality that are not obviously linked to physical health. The study sample consisted of 56 sexually experienced, ethnically diverse, predominantly female adolescents who were participating in a web-based intervention to promote healthy sexual decision-making.
Adolescents defined inequality of received pleasure differently and discussed contexts in which inequality may be acceptable.
Adolescents expressed motivation to communicate with partners about sexual pleasure. However, their statements suggested they often lack the skills to do so. Future prevention and intervention programs should equip adolescents with skills to communicate with partners about sexual pleasure. The literature on adolescent sexual and reproductive health is extensive, but has traditionally focused on incidence and prevention of negative health outcomes e. This is true despite a rather well developed body of conceptual work relevant to sexual pleasure among adults.
Definitions of sexual health and related constructs, as well as theories of sexual health and sexual satisfaction, provide guidance with respect to the study of sexual pleasure among adolescents. This conceptual work is reviewed below, as well as the small empirical literature on sexual pleasure among adolescents and emerging adults. It is also relevant to public health more broadly, in that it assumes sexually healthy individuals will be more likely to make health protective choices e. When people have developed a positive understanding of their sexuality, they may be more likely to know and ask for what they find sexually pleasurable and to set boundaries that contribute to sexually satisfying relationships Robinson et al.
Consistent with the Sexual Health Model, Harden has challenged researchers to adopt a sex-positive framework of adolescent sexuality. She argues that adolescent sexuality is a multidimensional construct that encompasses sexual self-efficacy, sexual self-esteem, feelings of sexual pleasure and satisfaction, and freedom from pain and negative affect regarding sexuality.
Moreover, she argues that consensual sexual activities during adolescence are developmentally normative and potentially healthy, particularly within the context of a positive, authentic relationship e. At least one study has examined a broadly conceptualized index of sexual health among adolescents. Hensel and Fortenberry conducted a study of young women aged 14—17 years and found that a composite measure of sexual health was associated with a variety of behavioral health outcomes, including abstinence, condom use, hormonal contraceptive use, and lower likelihood of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.
The sexual health composite measure also included more traditional correlates of health protective sexual behaviors pregnancy prevention attitudes, condom use efficacy. Hensel and Fortenberry concluded that the adoption of a multidimensional model of sexual health is important for promoting positive sexual development among young people.
A small body of research has specifically examined sexual pleasure among adolescents and emerging adults. This research has identified factors associated with sexual pleasure and sexual enjoyment. One such factor is gender. Autonomy, self-esteem, and empathy were found to be associated with greater enjoyment of receiving oral sex among young women, while only empathy was associated with greater enjoyment among young men.
Women reported greater regularity of orgasm only when they perceived the relationship to be equitable, whereas men reported greater regularity of orgasm when they perceived the relationship to be equitable or that they had a better deal.
Thus, quality of relationship is another important determinant of sexual pleasure and enjoyment among young people. Other studies suggest that positive sexual self-concept may contribute to sexual pleasure. In another study of women aged 16 to 19 years, positive sexual self-concept was associated with greater sexual satisfaction e.
In support of the Sexual Health Model Robinson et al. However, feelings about masturbation, especially for young women, are highly influenced by cultural and social stigma. In their qualitative study, Hogarth and Ingham found that many young women felt disinterest, discomfort, or disgust in relation to masturbation.
Women were more likely to feel sexually empowered by masturbation when their reasons for masturbating were to obtain sexual pleasure or learn about their bodies. Collectively, studies suggest that masturbation can have positive outcomes among young people if the behavior is viewed positively. While a variety of factors appear to be associated with sexual pleasure and enjoyment among adolescents, self-efficacy to comfortably and explicitly talk about sex with partners seems particularly relevant to the enhancement of pleasure.
The Interpersonal Exchange Model of Sexual Satisfaction Byers, defines rewards as exchanges that are pleasurable and beneficial to a partner, and costs as exchanges that demand effort or cause pain, embarrassment, or anxiety. A conversation about sexual pleasure between partners might be either a reward or cost, depending on the degree to which the conversation is difficult and whether the result is viewed as positive or negative.
A literature search yielded no studies examining whether communication with partners increases experiences of sexual pleasure among adolescent couples. This suggests that communication about sexual pleasure can be rewarding. Research on sexual pleasure among adolescents and emerging adults must also consider the role of the sexual double standard in determining the thoughts and experiences of young people, particularly young women. This may lead young women to be conflicted about their embodied sexual feelings, given that sexual desire may result in relational and social problems e.
Research on the sexual double standard among adolescents shows that social norms for sexual behavior differ by gender, with more negative social consequences for females compared to males. Conversely, there are potential drawbacks for adolescent females who follow the sexual double standard norms. Adolescents provided comments while participating in TeensTalkHealthan interactive web-based intervention to promote healthy sexual decision-making in the context of romantic and sexual relationships.
Two overarching research questions guided the present analysis:. Specific queries were made to adolescents regarding knowledge about what one finds pleasurable and perceived equality in received pleasure within a sexual relationship. Because the goal of the TeensTalkHealth intervention was to promote condom use and other healthy decision-making, a specific query was also made to assess whether adolescents believed sexual pleasure was linked in any way to engagement in health risk or health protective behaviors.
As sexuality is influenced by culture, this study examines thoughts and experiences that may be particularly relevant to young people Women want sex Bowman in the Midwestern United States. Findings from the present study can be integrated with current and future literature to understand what is similar and dissimilar across the experiences of young people from different geographic regions and cultures.
Data about sexual pleasure were collected from 56 adolescents who participated in the intervention arm of a pilot randomized controlled trial of TeensTalkHealthan interactive, web-based intervention to promote condom use and other healthy decision-making. The TeensTalkHealth study was approved by the name of university omitted for purpose of blind review Institutional Review Board IRB and a federal certificate of confidentiality was obtained. Participants were recruited from three community clinics and three schools in metropolitan regions of Minnesota between January and October, Brady et al.
The metropolitan regions Minneapolis, St. Adolescents were eligible to participate in the study if they were aged 14—18 years at the time of enrollment, had engaged in vaginal or anal sex at least once in the past three months, and typically used the Internet at least twice a week for a total of two hours. Adolescents who graduated from high school prior to spring or who were pregnant at the time of screening were ineligible for study participation.
Pregnant adolescents were excluded from the present study because their relationship concerns were likely to differ in important ways from their non-pregnant peers e. In-person enrollment meetings were scheduled to obtain parental consent and the assent of adolescents under 18 years.
Adolescents aged 18 years provided consent and did not need to be accompanied by a parent.
As part of the enrollment meeting, participants chose a non-identifying username and password to use on the website. Study involvement included a pre-intervention period, 4-month intervention period, and 2-month follow-up.
A total of adolescents participated in the pilot randomized controlled trial. The TeensTalkHealth intervention group consisted of 92 adolescents. Adolescents in the intervention condition accessed website content for a 4-month period. Although users were free to access any content that was available from the time they ed, health educators ased standard weekly content through a section of the website, My Required Tasks. Participants were instructed to watch video vignettes 3—5 minutes in length, read teen-friendly articles, and participate in discussion topics posted by health educators.
These materials served as conversation catalysts on message boards visible to all adolescents participating in the intervention. Topics addressed planning for condom-protected sex, advocacy for condom-protected sex, and handling consequences of unprotected sex. Topics also addressed an array of factors that may impact condom use and other healthy decision-making in the context of romantic and sexual relationships, including sexual pleasure.
Each unique topic video vignette, adolescent-friendly article, discussion topic was associated with its own message board discussion. While the purpose of the intervention was to promote condom use and other healthy decision-making, health educators on message boards encouraged adolescents to fully express their thoughts and feelings about a topic. During the intervention period, all submitted comments by adolescents were read at least daily and approved by health educators before they appeared publicly. When enrolled, adolescents were told that identifying information and abusive language directed towards other website users would be removed.
Potentially identifying information was rarely submitted i.
The following introduction and discussion questions were posed to participants at the beginning of the message board topic, Sexual Pleasure: Does It Matter to You? Some people hold back from saying what makes them feel good in a relationship, and this can be especially true when it comes to sex. Even if someone wants to make their partner feel good, they often need guidance. Each person has to know what feels good to them and then feel comfortable sharing this. Otherwise you might be left guessing.
Do you think all men and women know what feels good to them physically? Is physical pleasure the only thing to consider, or are there other ways of feeling good? How can you help a partner feel comfortable communicating what they want? With most partners, is sexual pleasure equal? Or does one person give more than they get in return? What does it depend on? When is it unfair, and when is it okay? If you expect that a sexual experience should be pleasurable, does this impact the kind of decisions you make about relationships and sexual health?
Do people who expect pleasure from sex take more risks or less, and why? After reading the Sexual Pleasure introduction and discussion questions, adolescents were prompted to participate in the corresponding message board discussion. Health educators attempted to decrease social desirability by creating an environment where any expressed thought by an adolescent was valued. Comments that supported potentially unhealthy attitudes or behaviors were responded to in a non-judgmental style that encouraged further discussion from both the individual and the group. Moderation guidelines are included in Appendix A.
Health educator questions and comments that were posted to the message board are included in Appendix B. The process for rigorous thematic analysis as described by Braun and Clarke was followed, including the collation of codes into potential themes and the iterative review of how themes related to each other in the construction of a cohesive story. Analysis consisted of a series of inductive and deductive open coding grounded in the responses to a priori questions from health educators, as well as emergent data generated organically by participants Massey, An entire comment by a participant was treated as the unit of analysis with respect to asment of codes.
Comments and their corresponding codes were categorized under major themes and subthemes using N-Vivo QSR International,specialized software for organizing qualitative data. Coding and categorization of comments was performed by the first author, with frequent discussion with the Principal Investigator of TeensTalkHealth. Codes were agreed upon by both individuals before being included.
Data were organized under the discussion question to which specific codes best related. Participants are quoted verbatim without editing of spelling or grammatical mistakes. Reflexivity was addressed Women want sex Bowman reflecting upon any biases or assumptions in a separate section of the methodological journal Berger, The study sample consisted of 56 adolescents who commented on the Sexual Pleasure topic. The average age of participants at baseline was Data is organized by Sexual Pleasure discussion question to show how comments may have been elicited by specific questions posed by health educators.
With respect to knowledge, a few participants asserted that people know what they find pleasurable, while many more asserted that people do not know what they find pleasurable. Several comments expressed the beliefs that people learn what is pleasurable by trying new things and that people who masturbate have a better understanding of what they find pleasurable. These comments appeared to generate reflection among other adolescents about how their experience or lack of experience with masturbation may inform or hinder what they know about pleasure, respectively.
I believe sexual please depends on sexual experience. For many participants, gender and biological sex were closely linked to whether or not an individual knew what was pleasurable and if pleasure was likely to be experienced during sexual activity. Several participants commented that pleasure does not always happen for young women while it almost always does for young men.
Participants stated that men seemed to be the ones in control and the ones more likely to experience pleasure in the context of a heterosexual relationship.
One participant stated that young women seem to think that pleasing a man is more important than feeling pleasure herself. In addition to describing gender-based differences in pleasure, participants described ways that biological sex can impact pleasure. A couple of participants expressed the belief that receipt of oral sex is more common for men than for women because of biological differences.
I think women are more likely to feel less pleasured because oral on a guy is pretty standard.Women want sex Bowman
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