Tag Archives: adolescence

Teenage Sexuality

IMG_0192-2Amy Schalet’s new book Not Under My Roof explores teenage sexuality and teen pregnancy in the United States compared to the Netherlands.

She wrote about this subject in Contexts in the Summer of 2010 in “Sex, Love, and Autonomy in the Teenage Sleepover.”

 

We created an in class survey in October 2010 to go along with this topic. See our post here.

Also, watch Amy’s interview on CNN, via Sociological Images.

teen parents

Teen parenting as a social issue does not fit neatly into categories of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ for most people…which makes it great material for teaching sociology! Take a look at the article “Children” Having Children by Stefanie Mollborn in the Winter 2011 issue of Contexts and use the activity below in your classroom.Stay at Home Dad

Before students read the article, have a class discussion about their perceptions of teen parenting. What are their first reactions to the issue? Do they have personal experience with the issue? Were their fathers or mothers teen parents? Their friends? Themselves? What are social and practical challenges they imagine teen parents must face? Should the government use taxpayer money to prevent teen parenthood or leave it alone?

Then have the students read the article for the next class meeting and have students form small groups to discuss 1) how the article may have changed their views on the issue and 2) what was missing from the discussion from the last class that the article brought up.

Come back to the larger group and have volunteers from each group relay what they discussed. Then, ask students to explore what, if anything, should be done about this issue (e.g. whether government funds should be used to combat teen parenthood, and if so, directed where?)

 

 

Hooking Up

Check out the article Is Hooking Up Bad for Young Women? by Elizabeth A. Armstrong, Laura Hamilton and Paula England, which appears in the Summer 2010 issue of Contexts. This highly accessible  and interesting article will work great in an undergraduate course on sexualities or gender.

Cerro Santa Lucía, SantiagoThe FULL article is available to download on Contexts.org!

The article offers insight on the “hook-up culture” among young people today by examining the Baby Boomers’ panic over teenage casual sex, presenting the data on casual and serious sexual relationships among teens, and examining pros and cons of hook-ups for women.

The authors cite the work of some journalists and others who have commented on “hooking up” among young women in very different ways:

  • Laura Sessions Stepp, author of Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both (2007)
  • Jessica Valenti, author of The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women (2010)
  • Ariel Levy, author of Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture (2005)

A fun and interesting way to use this article in your class is to allow students to take on the role of commentator by writing a short paper (3-4 pages) on their understanding and opinions on hook-up culture. You could have them read sections from the books above and/or read blog posts like this one from Salon.com in addition to this article from Contexts, and also have them research and cite scholarly work on the subject, like the work cited in the article.

Have them take a position on the issue of “hooking up”/casual sexual interactions in college and use evidence they find in their research to back up their claims.

Lesbian Romance

Questions that could be used to develop their argument include:

Do you think that hook-up culture is empowering for women or not?

Why do you think hooking-up is more common now than ever?

Why do you think young people hooking up causes such a moral panic?

Is sexual interaction within relationships preferable to hook-ups?

Is there a sexual double standard between men and women when it comes to hooking up?

How does the hook-up culture described in this article relate to same-sex relationships?

Mom, can my boyfriend sleep over?

Students will eat up this article from the Summer 2010 issue of Contexts: “Sex, Love, and Autonomy in the Teenage Sleepover” by Amy Schalet. This interesting article compares American and Dutch teenagers and their parents on their opinions on teenage sexuality, including sleepovers with their boyfriends/girlfriends.

215/365 - This Strawberrybananna smoothie is better than the Wildberry (:Get a discussion of teenage sexuality started by giving your students this anonymous survey on their own experiences with and ideas about teenage sexuality. Adapt it to your own tastes and class’ needs. The idea is to keep it anonymous so they answer candidly, and then compile the answers yourself and share them with the class. We would suggest giving this survey at the end of one class and then having the discussion at the beginning of the next.

Another way to use a survey in class is to use the same questions as another survey, like this Gallup Poll on teens and sex, and then compare the class’ answers to the public.

Discussion on Teenage Sexuality

This learning activity asks students to create a curriculum for a sex education class in small groups based on what they learned from the “After the Sexual Revolution: Gender Politics in Teen Dating” by Barbara Risman and Pepper Schwartz in Contexts Spring 2002.

PART I

Discuss and answer these questions with your small group:

1) Do you think there is a sexual double standard for female and male teenagers? Did you observe this in your high school? Here at college? In your family?

2) Do you think that the double standard endures throughout life or do you think it disappears after the teenage years?

3) Do you consider teenagers having sex a social problem? Would your parents agree?

4) If it is a social problem, what are some specific problems/dangers/concerns that you see with teenagers having sex?

5) Do you think there are emotional consequences for sexually active teenagers? If so, what are they?

6) What was your high school sex education class like? Do you think the class had any effect on students’ sexual activity or their views on sexuality? Did it help prevent sexual activity or not? What do you think were the goals of the class?

7) What do you think the focus of sex education classes should be? Should they promote abstinence or focus on prevention of physical, emotional, and/or social problems of teenage sex?

Part II

Based on what your group discussed, create a “curriculum” for a high school sex education course that would confront the issues that you brought up about teenage sexuality.

Questions to think about:

1)    What were the issues that your group talked about? Did you identify physical, social, cultural, and/or psychological issues?

2)    How do you think an educator should approach these issues with high school students?

Our “curriculum” would include these topics and strategies: