Key Points

• Almost half of high school students report having experienced sexual intercourse.

• Adolescents perceive less health, social, and emotional risks with oral sex than vaginal intercourse.

• Adolescents report increased condom use over the last decade.

• About 8% of adolescents report being forced to have sexual intercourse they did not want.

• Nonheterosexual adolescents are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors and are at risk for harassment and violence.

Physical, social, and sexual maturation can be a source of both pride and confusion or anxiety for teenagers. Peers, television, and the Internet provide information about sex, although often inaccurate, misleading, and inappropriate. School-based education regarding health and development, including sexuality, is often limited. Although shyness, reticence, and embarrassment are common, most adolescents (77% in one survey) would like their health care provider to ask them directly about their sexual knowledge and experience (Rosenthal et al., 1999). Family physicians can use routine outpatient visits for school, camp, or preemploy-ment physical examination to offer medical information as it relates to the teenager's current concerns.

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