ACCURATE DATA on teenage sexual behavior is difficult to obtain. Only a small proportion of the problem behavior comes to the attention of the juvenile courts, and schools usually prefer to direct little attention to sexual behavior among students. To equip professionals in the health fields to cope with contemporary problems of American youth, more attention should be directed toward studying deviant sexual behavior, especially homosexuality, drugs, use of contraceptives, sex education, and venereal disease in teenagers. Since most teenage problems related to identification and sexual behavior have their genesis in early childhood, the family physician plays an important role in promoting optimum childrearing practices and identifying potentially problematic behavior.
THE NEED FOR RESEARCH
There is a limited amount of valid scientific knowledge regarding the sexual behavior of adolescents. Although this subject receives considerable attention from the lay press, few good studies have been published. Information which is available is often based on folklore, prejudiced moral judgments, and retrospective anecdotal reporting. The pediatrician usually has limited knowledge on which to base the counseling and advice he is frequently called on to give regarding these problems. The Committee on Youth recommends that this subject be investigated thoroughly and encourages the development of studies to increase our meager knowledge and provide a basis on which to judge contemporary standards of normal and deviant behavior.
Any program of sex education is made more complicated by three recent developments: (1) Conception can now be readily controlled by oral medication. (2) There is an increasing interest in, and detailed understanding of, the physiology of the sexual response in both sexes.
- Copyright © 1968 by the American Academy of Pediatrics