From Aristotle's early treatises on sexual desire to Sigmund Freud's theories of psychosocial development, adolescent sexuality has been a controversial topic for virtually every generation. As the 21st century unfolds, society will continue to be challenged by adolescent sexual behavior and its consequences. Although medical providers often discuss adolescent sexuality in terms of "risk", it is important to remember that sexuality, sexual behaviors, and sexual relationships are an important and necessary part of human development. Responsible sexual behavior (eg, delaying initiation of sexual intercourse, choosing caring and respectful partners, increasing the use of condoms, and using effective contraception) is an important public health issue. The United States Healthy People 2020 goals include improved pregnancy planning and spacing; prevention of unintended pregnancy; promotion of healthy sexual behaviors; and increased access to quality services to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and their complications [1,2]. The World Health Organization and other agencies interested international health also identify adolescent-friendly health services as a worldwide priority [3,4], with 70 percent of more than 1 billion youth (10 to 19 years) living in developing countries .
Among adolescents in the United States:
●Young women reach puberty and sexual maturity (eg, breast development, menarche) at earlier ages than ever . (See "Normal puberty" and "Definition, etiology, and evaluation of precocious puberty".)
●Approximately one-half of high school youth report having had sexual intercourse, and one-third report being currently sexually active . Prevalence of sexual activity increases with age, rising from 33 percent in 9th graders to 63 percent in 12th graders .
●Trends (from 1991 to 2011) in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicate that :