Putting the romance back into sex: Sexuality in romantic relationships

Eva S. Lefkowitz, Meghan M. Gillen, Sara A. Vasilenko

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent media attention on romantic relationships and sexual behavior in emerging adulthood has portrayed hooking up as a primary means of sexual interaction among young people. Popular books on adolescent and emerging adult sexuality include titles such as Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on College Campuses (Bogle, 2008) and Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both (Stepp, 2007); recent articles in the New York Times include scintillating titles like “The Demise of Dating” (Blow, 2008) and “Friends with Benefits, and Stress Too” (Carey, 2007). Popular media frequently portray emerging adults similarly, whether through movies like American Pie 2 or “reality” television like MTV's The Real World. However, as we describe later, these portrayals do not capture the reality of emerging adults' experiences, only presenting a small piece of a very complex picture. THEORIES OF SEXUALITY Mirroring limitations in the media, theories of sexuality do not adequately address emerging adults' sexual behaviors within romantic relationships. Theories about sex tend to fall into four categories. First, biological theories focus on pubertal development and hormonal activation and therefore are more relevant for adolescents than for emerging adults (Rodgers & Rowe, 1993; Udry, Billy, Morris, Gruff, & Raj, 1985). Second, problem behavior theories describe adolescent sexual behaviors within a constellation of other problem behaviors that share antecedents (e.g., Jessor & Jessor, 1975; Newcomb, Huba, & Bentler, 1986). Emerging adults obviously engage in some sexual behaviors with potentially negative physical or psychological consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRomantic Relationships in Emerging Adulthood
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages213-233
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780511761935
ISBN (Print)9780521195300
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)

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