Male and female patterns in the discovery of sexuality during adolescence

J Adolesc. 1991 Jun;14(2):163-78. doi: 10.1016/0140-1971(91)90029-q.


The present paper attempts to analyse the various factors which influence adolescents strategies in their efforts to cope with the problems related to pubertal and sexual development: the physiological changes, the social pressures engendered by family and cultural environment, and the personal meanings young boys and girls attribute thereto. The data came from 603 questionnaires and 60 interviews performed on Italian adolescents (both males and females, students and non-students) on the following issues: the awareness of physical maturation in the same and opposite sex; the significance of heterosexual relationships; the motivation for early sexual experiences; and their effects on personal identity. Significant differences concerning sex and level of schooling emerged with regard to the elaboration of the subject's psychosexual identity, motivation in the choice of partner and the precocity in the onset of sex life.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude
  • Body Constitution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Puberty / psychology*
  • Sex Education
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires