A Crisis for Males and Females
Barbara S. Hardy
Clark County School District, Henderson, NV
Adolescence is a period marked by rapid physical growth and social challenge of numerous complicated developmental tasks, and the need to adjust to physical, intellectual, social, and emotional changes. Today's adolescents' behavior is greatly influenced by various social variables at a younger age than those of past generations (National Research Council, 1987). In achieving an appropriate sense of identity, the adolescent must confront issues of anticipated future achievement, self-concept, relations with authority, and peer acceptance. Personal relationships become important and meaningful during this period, not only because of peer accep tance but also because of the need for intimacy with others, particularly with the opposite gender.
Since the earliest studies concerning sexual behavior between unmarried young people (Bromley & Britten, 1938 Davis, 1929; Hamilton, 1929) societal attitudes concerning sexual behavior have been gradually changing toward more tolerance of sexual expression of feelings (Dryer, 1982). The implications of society's increasingly tolerant attitudes and the adolescents' management of their sexual behavior should be areas of concern to the adolescent, parent, and educator. Knowing the needs of today's adolescents and the resulting behavior may help to provide proper guidance and direction for adolescents.
Adolescent sexual behavior has increased markedly over the past two decades (Hofferth, Khan, & Baldwin, 1987). Although it is difficult to determine