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Adolescence and Sexuality: Girls’ and Boys’ Sexual and Emotional Experiences

Introduction

Sex, romantic and intimate relationships for most teens today begin at a relatively early age. In particular, scientists note that the first sexual contact, whether casual sex or sex in relationships occurs in most teenagers before their senior years (Orenstein, 2016). Then, in college, young people meet with unlimited freedom of action and expression, although this is only partially true. This paper aims to discuss girls’ and boys’ sexual and emotional experiences and how social and gender norms influence adolescent behavior and personal identity.

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Girls ’and Boys’ Experiences

Although gender stereotypes are often far-fetched, there are still significant differences between the sexual experiences of boys and girls. Peggy Orenstein conducted extensive studies on this subject, based on dozens of interviews with young people. Interestingly, the topic of hookups and casual sex turned out to be in the focus of female sexuality. In contrast, the guys’ conversations with the journalist were mainly focused on topics of masculinity and the manifestation of emotions.

Girls often spoke about their right to freedom in sexual relations and mostly faced the problem of guys’ aggressive and disrespectful behavior. At the same time, the guys complained that their days are spent in the ‘man box’ since the degree of condemnation of ‘not manly’ behavior is extremely high among boys (Orenstein, 2020). For girls, the main disturbing factor in sexual experience was the lack of respect for their physical needs during sex or the lack of interest in communicating after sex. A separate topic was raped during parties, which are difficult to define due to blurred boundaries of consent to sexual contact.

Simultaneously, the big problem for guys is that, unlike girls, they are still in the context of gender and social standards of the middle of the last century. In particular, most guys are entirely emotionally isolated and cannot discuss their personal, intimate, or emotional problems with their friends because of powerful taboos on such behavior (Orenstein, 2020). Many admit they are more afraid to look ridiculous in front of other guys than in front of girls. According to the scientist, this is because emancipation mainly affected women as participants in society (Orenstein, 2020). In particular, feminist movements have provided women with the opportunity to freely discuss many topics that are still the strictest taboo for men.

That is why, for guys, sexual contacts were not the issue that they would like to discuss with a journalist – by and large, they are only a means of proving and supporting the image of masculinity. At the same time, many boys admitted that their girlfriends were the only people with whom they could communicate, including their problems, feelings, and emotions (Orenstein, 2020). It may seem strange, but among boys, conversations are still considered something girlish, and they can be easily excluded from their social circle for any manifestation of emotions. Unfortunately, for the same reason, even though so many guys condemn the aggressive sexual behavior of their peers, they cannot stop or change it.

Similarities

In general, it is not easy to find similarities in the experiences of girls and boys. Perhaps the only common factor is the pressure of social stereotypes, although this pressure is much lower in the female environment. Another common ground is the exposure of both boys and girls to psychological abuse by boys. Moreover, guys who have to conform to stereotypes can even be ‘models of masculinity.’ For example, a journalist spoke to one white, tall captain of a football team who nevertheless suffered from peer aggression.

The same applies to girls – even the most sexually liberated and popular girls are perceived by boys only as sexual objects, due to the ‘mannish’ stereotypes. For the same reason, many girls are subjected to mental and, in some cases, sexual abuse (Orenstein, 2016). Thus, gender stereotypes of ‘masculinity’ are the leading cause of risky and problematic sexual experiences of both boys and girls. Besides, the need for boys to stay emotionally detached is becoming a barrier that adolescents of both sexes cannot overcome.

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Stereotypes

Based on the preceding, the most unexpected was the discovery of how strongly boys are hostages of the image of a ‘real macho.’ Although technological progress has changed the world over the past 60 years, the relationships between guys got stuck in 1955, the scientist believes (Orenstien, 2020). Thus, young women receive indirect hits from male emotional coldness and aggressiveness, maintaining much more humane and modern relationships in a female environment. Perhaps this is why girls are not particularly keen on relationships, saying that they are too busy achieving career and academic goals.

Interestingly, following the same stereotypical thinking, the US society is inclined to condemn people who are not in significant relationships, do not seek marriage, and have children – the so-called ‘singles’. Such stereotypical thinking dominates even among scientists, which indicates how much this stereotype distorts normal human relations (DePaulo, 2005). It is incredible how naturally male non-emotionality and aggressiveness become the decisive factor influencing the disinclination of women to have relationships. At the same time, it is disheartening that, despite the objectivity of the problem, society does not offer other solutions than the condemnation of freedom in sexual and human relations.

Conclusion

Thus, girls’ and boys’ sexual and emotional experiences were discussed. To summarize, the main difference in the girls’ sexual experiences is a more free and modern atmosphere of their communication with each other and vulnerability to sexual violence. At the same time, boys have severe problems in communicating with each other and are subjected to constant background psychological violence from each other. As a result, both boys and girls do not seek to establish long-term relationships.

References

DePaulo, B. M., & Morris, W. L. (2005). Singles in society and science. Psychological Inquiry, 16(2-3), 57-83.

Orenstein, P. (2016). Girls & sex: Navigating the complicated new landscape. Oneworld Publications.

Orenstein, P. (2020). Boys & sex: Young men on hookups, love, porn, consent, and navigating the new masculinity. Souvenir Press.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, March 17). Adolescence and Sexuality: Girls’ and Boys’ Sexual and Emotional Experiences. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/adolescence-and-sexuality-girls-and-boys-sexual-and-emotional-experiences/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, March 17). Adolescence and Sexuality: Girls’ and Boys’ Sexual and Emotional Experiences. https://studycorgi.com/adolescence-and-sexuality-girls-and-boys-sexual-and-emotional-experiences/

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"Adolescence and Sexuality: Girls’ and Boys’ Sexual and Emotional Experiences." StudyCorgi, 17 Mar. 2022, studycorgi.com/adolescence-and-sexuality-girls-and-boys-sexual-and-emotional-experiences/.

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StudyCorgi. "Adolescence and Sexuality: Girls’ and Boys’ Sexual and Emotional Experiences." March 17, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/adolescence-and-sexuality-girls-and-boys-sexual-and-emotional-experiences/.

References

StudyCorgi. 2022. "Adolescence and Sexuality: Girls’ and Boys’ Sexual and Emotional Experiences." March 17, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/adolescence-and-sexuality-girls-and-boys-sexual-and-emotional-experiences/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Adolescence and Sexuality: Girls’ and Boys’ Sexual and Emotional Experiences'. 17 March.

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