The adolescent boy and girl: first and other early experiences with intercourse from a representative sample of Swedish school adolescents

Arch Sex Behav. 1982 Oct;11(5):417-28. doi: 10.1007/BF01541574.


Attitudes and sexual experiences among adolescents have been studied using data from a representative sample of pupils in tenth grade in Uppsala, the fourth largest city in Sweden. Sex differences in coital experience, coital frequency, and evaluation of coital frequency are analyzed. The importance of traditional sex roles is discussed, and the differential sexual socialization of boys and girls is commented on. The data help convey a picture of an adolescent boy who feels deprived of heterosexual outlets and whose sexual relations with girls are sudden, unplanned, and characterized by limited emotional involvement; the adolescent boy is also quite discontent. This picture is contrasted with that of the girls, about whom it is found that, compared with the boys, a greater proportion have coital experience, the average age at first intercourse is lower, and the average number of experiences with intercourse during the last month is higher; to a greater extent than the boys, the girls are satisfied with how often they have intercourse.

PIP: Sexual attitudes and experiences among adolescents in Uppsala, Sweden were studied during Autumn 1978. The sample included students in the 1st year of high school and is a representative probability sample of students in the 1st year of high school in Uppsala in 1978. The respondents were given an extensive questionnaire of over 100 questions. Topics like socioeconomic background, membership in voluntary associations, sex education, attitudes to contraception, attitudes to various sexual behaviors, personal sexual experiences, and evaluations of these experiences were covered in the questionnaire. Of the 181 adolescents who answered the questionnaire, 93 were girls and 88 boys. The median age was 16 years. Of the 181 respondents, 71 were found to have had coital experience. More girls than boys had coital experience, and the median age as well as the mode for age at 1st intercourse was lower for girls than for boys. This is contrary to the findings from most earlier studies. 44 of the 93 girls and 27 of the 88 boys have had intercourse. The median age at 1st intercourse for those girls who have had intercourse was 14.3 years and for boys with coital experience, 15.0 years. 67% of the girls and 41% of the boys had their 1st intercourse with a steady date. 1/3 of the boys but only 1/10 of the girls had their 1st intercourse with a casual acquaintance. Most adolescents had known their partner for 1 month or more (84% of the girls and 63% of the boys). Most of those who had intercourse had their 1st experience with a partner of roughly the same age. The partner's home was the most common scene for the 1st intercourse among both girls and boys. The fact that 40% of the girls and 63% of the boys reported that they were somewhat or very intoxicated at the time of 1st intercourse should be further investigated. Contraception was used at the 1st intercourse by more boys than girls. When intercourse becomes more regular, the female contraceptives like oral contraception (OC) and the IUD become more popular, and the responsibility for contraception is gradually shifted to the female. 35% of the respondents used a condom and 42% used OC, while 18% did not use any contraception. Only a small minority of the resondents have had many sexual partners. Using the mean as an average, it was 3.1 partners for the girls and 3.3 partners for the boys. 10 boys and 37 girls claimed that they never masturbate. On the whole, the girls were more often satisfied with their coital frequency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude
  • Coitus*
  • Contraception Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Psychosexual Development*
  • Social Environment
  • Sweden