Ad

Adolescent Sexual Development

Ad Disclosure: Some of our MentalHelp.net recommendations, including BetterHelp, are also affiliates, and as such we may receive compensation from them if you choose to purchase products or services through the links provided

This article has emphasized that adolescent development is an amazing and remarkable journey toward becoming an adult. Perhaps one of the most significant developmental milestones along this journey is adolescents' emerging sexuality. Although sexual development is discussed here as a separate area of development, in reality it represents a complex merger of youths' physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and moral development.

As youth grow into adult bodies capable of sexual reproduction, their sexual interest is piqued just as they are becoming interested in forming adult-like, romantic relationships. This often spells a recipe for disaster in some parents' minds, but it needn't be. With thoughtful planning and education, parents' can assist their teens to celebrate and embrace their sexuality while making wise decisions along the way.

Ad

During adolescence, youth must make many decisions about their sexuality, and will come to learn a great deal about themselves including an understanding of their own sexual identity and sexual orientation. This article has previously discussed the developmental process of establishing a unique and personal identity. As part of that process, youth must also form a gender identity; i.e., whether they consider themselves to be masculine, feminine, or both (transgendered). For most youth their gender identity will correspond to their biological sex. But a minority of youth will identify themselves as transgendered; meaning, their gender identity may be opposite their biological sex.

Another aspect of sexual development is sexual orientation. Sexual orientation refers to patterns of attraction to others and includes physical, emotional, sexual, and romantic attraction. Like gender identity, adolescents' sexual orientation typically evolves throughout all three phases of adolescence. In this section we explore these many facets of adolescent sexuality. Our goal is simply to describe this process of development.

Therapists are Standing By to Treat Your Depression, Anxiety or Other Mental Health Needs

Explore Your Options Today

Ad

Additional Resources

As advocates of mental health and wellness, we take great pride in educating our readers on the various online therapy providers available. MentalHelp has partnered with several thought leaders in the mental health and wellness space, so we can help you make informed decisions on your wellness journey. MentalHelp may receive marketing compensation from these companies should you choose to use their services.

MentalHelp may receive marketing compensation from the above-listed companies should you choose to use their services.

Ad

Myndfulness App

Designed to Help You Feel Better Daily

Myndfuless App Rating

Download Now For Free

Learn More >

Ad
Ad
Ad