The Partnerships and Practices of Emerging Adults
This chapter describes what is known about the sexual behavior of American young adults, beginning with the prevalence of virginity and discussion of primary reasons offered for it. Serial monogamy, however, appears to be the central narrative of American heterosexual behavior. The chapter describes the average number of sexual partners that unmarried young adults report, highlighting how men and women “remember” their sexual pasts differently. Next the chapter outlines the role of oral sex in emerging adults’ lives and relationships — what it means, how its meaning has changed since adolescence, how popular it is, and what men and women think of giving and receiving it, followed by a discussion of anal sex and its rising — though more limited — prevalence. The chapter concludes with discussions of young adults’ contraceptive usage patterns, experiences of pregnancy scares, and the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections among them.
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