Traditional portrayals cast adolescent females as sexual gatekeepers whose primary task is to fend off boys' sexual overtures and set aside their own sexual desires in order to reduce their risks for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Yet an increasing number of thoughtful and constructive critiques have challenged this perspective, arguing for more sensitive, in-depth, multimethod investigations into the positive meanings of sexuality for adolescent girls that will allow us to conceptualize (and, ideally, advocate for) healthy sexual-developmental trajectories. Collectively, authors of this volume take up this movement and chart exciting new directions for the next generation of developmental research on adolescent female sexuality.
This is the 112th volume of New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, a journal published quarterly by Jossey-Bass.
Setting the tone for the volume, this introduction outlines the meaning and importance of positive female adolescent sexuality and outlines the unique contributions that the volume’s authors make to this topic.
2. Integrating Hormones and Other Biological Factors into a Developmental Systems Model of Adolescent Female Sexuality (Carolyn Tucker Halpern)
The author sets out a developmental systems approach to understanding interactions between biological and social influences on adolescent female sexuality.
3. Puberty and Girls’ Sexuality: Why Hormones Are Not the Complete Answer (Julia A. Graber, Lisa M. Sontag)
The complex range of psychological and social impacts of puberty on girls’ self-concepts, sexuality, and body image is the focus of this chapter.
4. Positive Sexual Communication and Socialization in the Parent-Adolescent Context (Eva S. Lefkowitz, Tara M. Stoppa)
The authors examine processes of parent-child communication about sexuality and how parents relay information about sexual attitudes and values explicitly and implicitly.
5. Uncommonly Good: Exploring How Mass Media May Be a Positive Influence on Young Women’s Sexual Health and Development (L. Monique Ward, Kyla M. Day, Marina Epstein)
This review of multiple media influences on adolescent girls’ sexuality demonstrates how media can reinforce either empowering or stereotypical images of and messages about female sexuality.
6. In a Different Position: Conceptualizing Female Adolescent Sexuality Development Within Compulsory Heterosexuality (Deborah L. Tolman)
The author argues that positive approaches to adolescent female sexuality need to focus more critical attention on how ideologies promoting compulsory heterosexuality shape girls’ experiences and the way researchers study these experiences.