Sexually Experienced Adolescents’ Thoughts About Sexual Pleasure

Ellen Saliares, J. Michael Wilkerson, Renee E. Sieving, Sonya S. Brady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Little research on adolescents has examined developmentally normative facets of sexuality that are not obviously linked to physical health. The purpose of this secondary data analysis was to qualitatively analyze adolescents’ thoughts about and experiences with sexual pleasure. 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. Comments on one message board, “Sexual Pleasure: Does It Matter to You?,” provided an opportunity to examine adolescents’ thoughts about and experiences with sexual pleasure, as well as their communication with partners about that topic. Adolescents’ comments demonstrated that they experience difficulties with pleasure in their sexual relationships. Adolescents generally believed that men are more likely than women to feel pleasure due to differences that include biology, understanding of one’s body, and control over partnered sexual behavior. 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)604-618
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Volume54
Issue number4-5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 13 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Ellen Saliares is now Sexuality Education and It?s Your Future Coordinator at Annex Teen Clinic, Robbinsdale, MN. This work was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, Division of AIDS (R34 MH086320 to S.S.B.) and a University of Minnesota Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry, and Scholarship to S.S.B. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support and contributions of our clinic and school partners; the Annex Teen Clinic; our program officer Willo Pequegnat, PhD; videographer Paul Bernhardt, BA; Fuzzy Duck Design and Jared Law, lead web designer and developer; and the following staff and students within the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the time of study implementation: Amy J. Kodet, MPP; Vienna D. Rothberg, MSW, MPH; Meredith Schonfeld Hicks, MPH; Magdalena Osorio, BA; Ramatoulie Jallow, MPH; Cherese Alcorn, BS; Lee McKenna, BS; Jeffrey Johnson, BS; Douglas Lier, BS; and Gudrun Kilian, BA.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality.

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