Partnership and Sexual Histories of Adolescent Males: Myths and Realities

Fatima Juarez, El Colegio de México
Teresa Castro, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

Adolescents are immersed in the process of developing their own identity and establishing interpersonal bonds beyond the family, including romantic and sexual relationships. This period of emotional and sexual maturation encompasses experimentation and learning, as well as exposure to potential reproductive health risks. Sporadic sexual relationships and frequent partner change are commonly assumed to be natural features of partnership dynamics during adolescence. However, little research has been done to confirm or explain these patterns. Our study analyzes, from a dynamic perspective, the partnership biographies of adolescent males in order to portray the prevailing patterns of dating, intimating and mating, e.g. types of relationships, their frequency, their duration, their exclusivity and their link to sexual behaviour and contraceptive decision-making. The paper uses data from a survey carried out in 2000 among 1,438 adolescent males aged 13-19 in several favelas of Recife, Brazil. The survey collected detailed partnership, sexual and contraceptive biographies.

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Presented in Session 4: Adolescent Sexual Behavior