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To help you navigate this site, we've invited experts and media personalities to make recommendations and offer insights on NFB films. New playlists Guest playlists Nfb expert playlists Thematic playlists Remembering Pepita Ferrari The National Film Board of Canada deeply mourns the loss of documentary filmmaker, producer and author Pepita Ferrari, who died on December 30 at her home in Lac Brome, at the age of A past Executive Director and board member with the Documentary Organization of Canada, Pepita combined a lifelong passion for documentary storytelling and a deep interest in exploring the performing arts on film. Three years later, she would direct another NFB documentary on women trailblazers: her film on 19th-century women travellers, The Petticoat Expeditions. Her most ambitious work with the NFB began inwhen she was asked to direct the landmark web and film project Capturing Reality: The Art of Lac poulinquebec women looking for sex partner, exploring the creative process of over 30 leading documentary filmmakers, which had its world premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, and was nominated for Best Arts Documentary Program or Series at the Gemini Awards. As a writer, producer and filmmaker—and a generous mentor to emerging filmmakers—Pepita was a true champion of documentary cinema.

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Learn More. Youth sexuality has been primarily studied with a focus on Lac poulinquebec women looking for sex partner potential public health issues, such as sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies, and its comorbidity with other risky behaviors. More recently, it has been studied as a normative step in romantic partnerships, either pre- or post-marital, as well as outside the context of romantic involvement. In this paper, we review the extensive literature on sexuality in adolescence and early adulthood both within and outside romantic relationships i.

Furthermore, the recent recognition of youth sexuality as a developmental task has led to a renewed interest from scholars in youth who abstain from sexual encounterswhether deliberately or not. A brief overview of the literature on cultural differences in sexuality, and sexual-minority youth sexual development is also provided. This paper concludes by suggesting future directions to bring the field of youth sexuality and romantic relationships forward. Research on the psychosexual development of adolescents is generally characterized by two main streams. First, adolescent or premarital sexual activity has been investigated as potentially risky and harmful, and examined from a public health perspective for a long time [ 1234 ].

This traditional line of research is of critical importance, considering the high prevalence rates of sexually transmitted infections STIs and unwanted teenage pregnancies in countries such as Great Britain and the United States [ 567 ]. Youth risky sexual behaviors, commonly operationalized as precocious sexual onset i. Past decades of research have yielded important knowledge on the improvement of prevention and intervention strategies in education and health care aiming to promote youth sexual health [ 121314 ].

Second, although research on adolescent risky sexual behavior is of vital importance, over the past two decades, it has been increasingly recognized that the exploration of intimate relationships and sexual behaviors during adolescence and emerging adulthood are not inherently risky. For instance, two studies found that female sexual subjectivity defined as feelings of sexual self-efficacy, entitlement to sexual pleasure from self and partner, sexual body esteem and sexual self-reflection; [ 18 ], increases ificantly with sexual experience [ 1920 Lac poulinquebec women looking for sex partner.

Other recent longitudinal studies reported a more positive body image among male college students after their first experience of intercourse, and lower psychological distress among both male and female college students [ 2122 ]. Another study observed that youth sexual health is associated with greater well-being in early and later adulthood [ 23 ]. This body of literature has provided insight into how comprehensive sexuality education can effectively promote responsible sexual decision-making in young people Lac poulinquebec women looking for sex partner 242526 ].

Thus, youth sexuality research agenda is now taking both its normative and risky components intofocusing on promoting positive sexual health [ 202728 ] and prevention of sexual health issues such as STIs and HIV, unplanned pregnancies, sexual coercion and abuse, and violence in romantic relationships. Research has shown that most heterosexual adolescents follow a progressive sexual trajectoryin which they first engage in non-genital behaviors e.

The majority of adolescents in the Netherlands, Canada, and in most Western countries follow this developmental sequence [ 3132 ], although there are individual differences in the pace of this sequence.

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As such, sexual repertoires typically increase in diversity along with age [ 33 ], but apart from a few studies on oral sex e. Research shows that a majority of teenagers from the U. Hence, individual differences in timing of first intercourse have been one of the most studied features of sexual development [ 45 ]. A lot of attention has been devoted to the factors associated with first intercourse in adolescence, as well as to targeting the protective factors to delay its onset.

As a result, numerous studies have been published on the individual, interpersonal, and socioeconomic characteristics that precipitate or delay sexual initiation, and there is abundant literature on the correlates of the distinct trajectories of early, normative, and late first intercourse e.

Recent longitudinal evidence suggests that both early and late sexual onset are related to mental and sexual health issues, poorer peer relationships, and higher Lac poulinquebec women looking for sex partner difficulties in comparison with a more normative timing of sexual debut [ 48154548 ]. These findings echo with lifespan [ 49 ] and lifecourse [ 50 ] theories that raise the importance of transitioning in sync with peers within a specific cohort, historical period, cultural context, and within group norms. These theories suggest that early and late normative life transitions are associated with increased challenges, over and beyond the difficulties of any transition per se.

Early Sexual Onset. While early engagement in sexual behaviors is not inherently problematic [ 51 ], research indicates that early starters are typically more vulnerable to potential risks. Moreover, younger adolescents are generally more impulsive [ 53 ] and more sensitive to social pressure [ 54 ]. They also often have less knowledge about sexual risks, and tend to be less confident and assertive during interactions with partners [ 41 ].

As a result, early initiators are more likely to have condomless sex [ 955 ]to accumulate more sexual partners throughout adolescence [ 9 ], to have non-consensual sexual experiences [ 41 ], to contract sexually transmitted infections [ 56 ], to become pregnant as a teenager [ 7 ], and to experiment subsequent increases in externalizing behaviors, albeit only among females [ 4 ].

Furthermore, sexual precocity is often comorbid with both externalized symptoms [ 8 ], especially among boys [ 57 ] and internalized problems [ 58 ], such as low self-esteem among girls [ 59 ]. In light of such potential risks, research on factors that delay or promote the initiation of sex is paramount. Late Sexual Onset. Until recently, literature on sexual abstinence in late adolescence and emerging adulthood was scarce and tended to present virginity as a personal choice [ 60 ], based on religious attendance and religiosity [ 61 ], moral principles and conservative attitudes [ 62 ], or high academic goals.

Other individual characteristics identified as correlates of virginity in late adolescence and Lac poulinquebec women looking for sex partner adulthood include a younger appearance due to late pubertal development [ 63 ], and lower use of alcohol and drugs [ 64 ]. When adolescent abstainers were asked directly why they refrained from sexual activity, various reasons emerged from their responses: fear- or uncertainty-based postponement e. Similar findings from a Dutch study on sexual attitudes, behaviors, and health of adolescents and young adults aged 12—25 years [ 41 ] indicated developmental patterns in the reasons for not having sex.

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However, various other reasons were also cited e. In addition to the aforementioned individual factors, several studies have also identified interpersonal factors associated with adolescent virginity, mostly related to family structure and education and peer influences. For family influences, living with both biological parents [ 63 ], having a highly educated mother [ 64 ], and believing that adults and parents have high achievement standards toward them are linked to delayed sexual onset in youth [ 66 ]. With regards to peer relationships, numerous studies have shown that adolescents who postpone their first intercourse until later in life are more likely to have friends who also believe in delaying sexual intercourse [ 4567 ] and who are involved in religious activities [ 68 ].

These findings are in line with the extensive research of the last 40 years supporting homophilia in friend selection among adolescents [ 697071 ], Lac poulinquebec women looking for sex partner among late sexual starters who tend to hang out with alike-peers [ 47 ] in groups where sexual abstinence is the norm [ 63 ]. Virginity in Early Adulthood. However, when virginity continues into early adulthood, different factors are likely to explain this delay.

Since the paradigm on adolescent sexuality has shifted from a risky vision leading to abstinence-only sex education to the recognition of sexuality as a developmental task of the second decade of life, an increasing of studies are now documenting the correlates and predictors of virginity in early adulthood. For instance, one study showed that adult virgins have higher odds of being overweight and of being perceived as physically unattractive [ 72 ]. Four additional studies reported that adult virgins have greater probabilities of never having been in a romantic relationship [ 47687374 ].

Moreover, in a qualitative study conducted among 82 involuntary celibate adults aged 18 to 64 years, Donnelly and colleagues [ 48 ] found that nearly all adult virgins never dated anyone, including in adolescence.

Thus, findings converge to support the importance of romantic and sexual experiences during adolescence for ongoing romantic and sexual development in adulthood. Additionally, this study revealed that these adult virgins perceived themselves as being very shy and unable to establish social contacts, and reported body image issues, such as being overweight and perceiving their physical appearance to be an obstacle to their sexuality [ 48 ].

In summary, research on adulthood virginity, although embryonic, has started to uncover that there are several reasons for remaining a virgin in early adulthood, some relating to personal choices, and others being more egodystonic and linked to a lack of sexual opportunities.

Census profile

Therefore, one of the issues for scholars focusing on virginity is the diversity among this population, and the distinction between youth who have never had dyadic erotic experiences, on the one hand, and those who abstain from coitus but engage in other partnered sexual behaviors, on the other. These individuals have partnered sexual repertoires that include various sexual experiences, like mutual touching of the genitals, oral sex, and more rarely anal sex, but refrain from engaging in penile-vaginal intercourse [ 7576 ].

Sexual-minority youth who have never engaged in sexual intercourse with someone of the other-sex are also often confounded with heterosexual virgins if no questions on sexual orientation are asked [ 47 ]. Thus, technical virgins seem to be in different psychosexual developmental trajectories than those who never experienced any sexual contact with a partner because of difficulties to attract one, or of very little interest in sexual interactions [ 77 ].

Because most studies have conflated these two distinct populations, our knowledge on the prevalence and characteristics of emerging adults without any sexual experience with another person remains very limited [ 72 ].

One of the explanations associated with sexual abstinence in youth is asexuality. The question of whether asexuality constitutes a sexual orientation in itself has been an ongoing a debate among sex scholars [ 777879 ]. Even though asexual youth are more likely than sexual ones to be virgins in adulthood [ 77 ], the overlap between adulthood inexperience and sexual non-attraction is incomplete.

However, the links between sexual attraction, sexual experiences, and sexual identity are complex and still largely overlooked [ 8081 ].

Although historical changes have taken place in gender expectations regarding sexuality, recent studies suggest that the sexual double standard persists. Stricter social norms remain for female sexuality, encouraging young girls to refrain from sex and avoid cumulating multiple sexual partners [ 82 ], whereas boys are generally granted more sexual freedom.

Girls are also more often discouraged by their peers from having sex [ 838485 ], whereas boys are generally socialized in more sex-positive peer contexts, characterized by more approval of—but also more pressure toward—sexual activity, especially from male friends [ 86 ].

Accordingly, boys generally report higher rates of masturbation and lifetime sexual partners and more consistent sexual activity than girls in studies on youth sexuality [ 87 ]. Even more striking are the reported differences in emotions associated with sexual activity across genders. Qualitative research has found that many young girls experience ambivalence and mitigated emotions following their experience of first intercourse [ 8889 ]. This has recently been substantiated by a quantitative study conducted among Dutch adolescents, in which sexually experienced boys reported overall more positive sexual emotions than sexually experienced girls [ 90 ].

Similar findings have been reported in another quantitative study by Brady and Halpern-Fisher [ 82 ]: sexually inexperienced girls aged 14 to 16 years old reported more mixed feelings about their virginity than boys. The authors hypothesized that young girls may feel pressured by their romantic partners to have sex, while feeling pressured by most other Lac poulinquebec women looking for sex partner agents, including parents and same-sex peers, to abstain from sex.

This interesting avenue has yet to be empirically tested.

This finding was also replicated in a quantitative study presenting the same virginity scripts to a different emerging adult sample [ 92 ]. As a result of viewing virginity as a stigma, males are more likely to perceive it as a source of embarrassment [ 91 ], and to lie about their virgin status [ 93 ]. Furthermore, a study conducted among virgin adolescents found a higher proportion of males reporting being a virgin as a lack of sexual opportunities when compared to females [ 94 ].

There is also evidence suggesting that males who delay sexual onset until adulthood are more likely to have anxious symptoms than on-time males [ 45 ]. In summary, the evidence converges in that sexual scripts, sexual trajectories, cognitions about sexuality, and the subjective experiences of dyadic sexuality differ by gender.

However, meta-analyses investigating gender differences in sexual attitudes and behaviors have also found substantial similarities between males and females [ 8795 ].

This suggests that within-gender individual differences in sexuality may be stronger than between-gender differences, and points to an important site for future research. Furthermore, an interesting study from Tolman and Diamond [ 97 ] pointed out that research on male and female sexuality over the life course lacks theorization, resulting in a fragmented knowledge from studies focusing either on sociocultural and political aspects leading to gender differences in sexual development, or on the biological aspects of gendered sexual behavior.

Together, these studies suggest that gender differences observed in youth sexuality may be better explained by cultural factors and socialization effects than by the biology distinguishing males and females. Since sexual norms are shaped by the more distal influences of culture, gender differences in youth sexual development may be a reflection of a gendered socialization in any particular culture.

Sexuality (and lack thereof) in adolescence and early adulthood: a review of the literature

With regards to youth sexual development and sexuality across cultures, research has revealed both commonalities and cultural specificities in different subgroups based on their cultural background and context. These seven themes were present, in varying degrees, in all countries assessed.

This study suggests that some attitudes toward sexuality might be universal in youth. Despite these commonalities, many studies have examined differences in the sexual behaviors, attitudes and development of youth with specific cultural backgrounds, and have done so in two different ways: 1 by comparing collectivist versus individualistic cultures, and assessing different dimensions of youth sexuality while conducting sex research in non-Western countries; and 2 by comparing youth sexuality with samples from diverse cultural backgrounds in countries marked by high rates of immigration.

The main findings from each of these two lines of research are reviewed below.

Youth Sexuality in Collectivist versus Individualistic Cultures. In general, the former tend to be more oriented toward their social context, show more sensitivity and conformity to social norms, and greater endorsement of friendship rules than the latter [,].

In terms of sexuality, they are also typically surrounded by sexual norms that tend to be overall more conservative in comparison with those in more individualistic cultures [ ]. It has been suggested that, as a result of these cultural characteristics, youth raised in collectivist cultures are more susceptible to social influences in the development and shaping of their sexuality and sexual decision-making e. Sexual Development of Ethnic Minority Youth. A considerable amount of research has also been devoted to determining the effects of ethnic group membership on youth sexual development.

In a review of 35 longitudinal studies on age at first intercourse, mostly conducted in the U. Hispanic adolescents reported an age of first intercourse similar to White adolescents, and Asian American adolescents reported a later onset of sexual activity.