What Does Healthy Sex Look Like among Youth? Towards a Skills-Based Model for Promoting Adolescent Sexuality DevelopmentArbeit M.R.
Tufts University, Medford, Mass., USA
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Sexuality is central in human life, perhaps especially in adolescence when multiple dimensions of change constitute physical, psychological, and social challenges and opportunities for the developing young person. Understanding this constellation of challenges and opportunities and formulating constructive, supportive interventions would be greatly facilitated by a skills-based model for promoting sexuality development in adolescence. Moving beyond the deficit, sex-negative approach, I propose a model that identifies three key elements of skillful adolescent sexuality development: sexual selfhood, sexual negotiation, and sexual empowerment. I link these components through the processes of personal agency, interpersonal intimacy, and social advocacy. I consider limitations of the model as well as the next steps for applying this theoretical framework to future empirical studies that seek to describe, explain, and optimize sexuality development throughout the adolescent years.
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