The sexual behavior of adolescents is, in most cases, influenced by their culture's norms and mores, their sexual orientation, and the issues of social control such as age of consent laws.
In humans, mature sexual desire usually begins to appear with the onset of puberty.
Teen girls dating older boys
Among those who were sexually active, the majority (82%) used contraception.
After their first act of sexual intercourse, adolescent girls generally themselves in one of the following ways: as a gift, a stigma, or a normal step in development.
Girls typically think of virginity as a gift, while boys think of virginity as a stigma.
These hormones target the sexual organs and begin their maturation.
Increasing levels of androgen and estrogen have an affect on the thought processes of adolescents and can be described as them being in the minds "of almost all adolescents a good deal of the time".
In 2002, a survey was conducted in European nations about the sexual behavior of teenagers.
In a sample of fifteen year olds from 24 countries, it found that most self-reported that they had not experienced sexual intercourse.
Sexual activity in general is associated with various risks including unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS.
The risks are elevated for young adolescents because their brains are not neurally mature; several brain regions in the frontal lobe of the cerebral cortex and in the hypothalamus important for self-control, delayed gratification, and risk analysis and appreciation are not fully mature.
The creases in the brain continue to become more complex until the late teens, and the brain is not fully mature until age 25. The sexual maturation process produces sexual interest and thought processes.
Subsequent sexual behavior has its start with the secretion of hormones from the hypothalamus and anterior pituitary gland.