Sexual Activity

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Sexuality is an aspect of human development across the lifespan. The rapid biological and psychosocial changes that occur during adolescence enhance the importance of sexuality during this critical period. During puberty, hormones increase adolescents' attraction to potential sexual partners and enables their bodies to reproduce. Psychosocial development enhances teens' abilities to negotiate sexual relationships and to realize that their physically mature bodies encourage adultlike interactions, including romantic relationships and a greater degree of autonomy from parents. This article reviews a number of adolescent sexual issues, including sexual activity, contraception, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and reproduction. In addition, the issues of substance use, violence, and sexual orientation as related to adolescent sexual behavior are discussed.

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