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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. There are limited contextual data regarding first sexual experiences of younger adolescent men. Yet these data that are needed to inform STI and early fatherhood prevention efforts, particularly in lower income communities. Using qualitative methods, 14 adolescent men ages 14—16, all low income, most African American from a mid-sized U. Story-telling was encouraged. Descriptions of first sex were identified, and then analysed for narrative structure and shared concepts.
Mentorship, initiation by the female, and idealising sex as a romantic experience, played important roles in constructing the context of first sex. These factors should be incorporated in harm-reduction interventions for young men in similar contexts. First sexual experiences are considered particularly salient by both adolescents and researchers Lewin ; Cooksey, Mott and Neubauer ; Rebello and Gomes Traeen and Kvalem Holland et al. Studies have examined individual factors such as ethnicity, school record, career ambition and substance abuse, family factors such as parental living arrangement, maternal education, parental communication and parental involvement; and peer factors such as peer pressure and relationship status Mott et al.
Even though these studies describe contributing factors, they are not able to capture immediate context, motivation, and perceptions of early sexual experiences. Yet available data suggest that these contexts, motivations and perceptions are important to sexual health prevention. While first sex for U. Relationship contexts, such as whether the partner is known are additionally important. Individual and contextual influences on sex vary markedly from early through late adolescence. A more detailed understanding of the early sexual experiences of younger adolescent men is needed to inform STI and early fatherhood prevention efforts for this age group.
Qualitative studies can provide insights into some of these contexts, perceptions and motivations that are not apparent in surveys. It is not clear, however, that younger men hold similar views. A retrospective study in which older adolescents looked back on first sex, male participants described feeling anxious, but generally perceived their sexual experience to be an empowering process by which their identity of masculinity is formed Holland et al.
Much of the existing qualitative research focuses on sexually experienced mid-to late-adolescents. These qualitative studies have looked at the sexual messages that young men may receive from their dating partner Morgan and Zurbriggensequences of emotional and sexual progression in a relationship Upadhyay, Hindin and Gultianoand the influence of close friends in conceptualising and socially constructing sexual roles and behaviours Harper et al.
These studies highlight issues related to sexual communication. For example, our own work on condom use by younger adolescent boys demonstrated that communication about condoms was primarily non-verbal Rosenberger et al. An examination of how boys construct their stories of first sexual experiences can also provide insight into how they view themselves as partners and sexual agents. The purpose of this analysis was to examine narratives of first sex among young boys recruited from an urban area with high rates of early sexual onset and STIs.
Participants included fourteen 14—16 years old, who provided a narrative of their first ever sexual experience. The age range was chosen because a majority of the young men in these neighbourhoods become sexually experienced by the age of Each man provided written consent and parents provided written permission. The study was approved by the institutional review board of Indiana University.
Young men completed a brief structured questionnaire on sexual behaviour and a 1 hour face-to-face semi structured interview. Two follow-up interviews were conducted with each study participant at 6 months and 9 months from baseline. This strategy helped to reduce recall bias. Where were you at? What happened? When participants mentioned their first ever sexual experiences, the interviewer asked them to elaborate on the context in which first sex occurred.
The interviewer listened for shared content and meaning and asked participants to explain or elaborate on responses to these questions. s of first ever sex were verified and further discussed in subsequent interviews. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed for similarities and differences in first ever sexual experiences. Our analysis drew from both narrative approaches and grounded theory Strauss and CorbinMcLeanFloersch et al. First, all sections of interviews where first ever sex was mentioned were identified and selected.
Excerpts were read as a story, and we identified a common narrative structure. Within each narrative element, we then looked for shared concepts, or themes. Examples of shared concepts included pre-planning, mentoring, sexual spaces, and returning to activities. For each of these shared concepts, we developed a list of properties and dimensions. Similar concepts were collapsed and differences resolved by discussion. Exceptions were identified and analysed. Of the 14 s of first sex, 10 reported first sex before the study started, and 4 reported first sex during the study. Across participants, we observed a single dominant narrative in s of first sex see figure 1.
This dominant narrative included three main parts: preparation, the sexual event, and the afterwards. The first element of preparation was the identification or creation of a sexual space. A sexual space is a point in time at a particular location in which an individual creates an opportunity and expectation that sex could happen Hensel et al. Usually the space was a bedroom, but it did not need to be. Parties, in particular, were recognised by participants as a time when sex was a possibility. Mentors enabled the first sex to happen through several mechanisms.
Chris describes being set up by a brother; Paul by a cousin:. So it was like a brother sister thing and we had sex. These descriptions often involved pairing off when parents and other family were not present. Another mechanism for mentors was providing condoms for the participant before an event, in recognition of the possibility of sex. Paul described:. The third mechanism of mentoring was advice-giving. This happened at some point before first sex, ranging from months to hours. The mentor would provide the participant with information on how to initiate the sexual activity or getting the girl in the mood.
For example, as James said:. Like and then I talked to my brother about it and he just told me to be careful and stuff like that and then he gave me condoms too. Two participants described this:. A second aspect of pre-planning was talking to the potential partner days to weeks ahead of time about the possibility of having sex. These conversations often took the form of joking about sex, or the use of a hypothetical situation.
Here James describes using sexual jokes:. These early conversation appeared to be used by participants to assess interest and potential consent on the part of the participant. James specifically talked to his first partner ahead of time about consent and avoiding coercion or the appearance of rape.
Most episodes of first vaginal sex happened with a female partner that was reasonably well known to the participant. These included girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, and close friends who would become girlfriends. Despite the fact that the individual was known, only one participant reported setting up a specific appointment time, location with a specific person for first sex. Female partners were generally the same age or older.
We note that there was little to no discussion of alcohol or drug use in their narratives of first sex. The second part of first sex was the sexual event itself. Initiation was almost always non-verbal, but obvious.
Joe and James recount:. So then I was like maybe she does want me to do it. Though in general no verbal exchange happened at the time of the sexual event, there were two exceptions. The first participant was invited by a girl and her cousin for group sex at her home, and the participant, Matt, describes what happened at a party:.
While most described kissing and some described hugging, there was no other foreplay. Most described using a condom. The events were quick, and most did not undress beyond taking off pants and panties. At least half of participants said they did not ejaculate.
First sex was viewed as a rite of passage for almost all participants. Most described high emotions related to the event. I was definitely scared then. First time I mean, jitters. First nerves. But got over it. For example, Alex described:. It was just like I wasn't like usual, myself, like I wasn't focusing on anything, I, just on her.
And so, [it] wasn't painful or anything, I was just like serious I guess. And I don't know, I just, that was just it. You know, I don't know, it's like the, to explain it, I don't really know. It just, just things happen I guess, and so, when someone has sex I guess. So I like, wasn't knowing what I was doing really. Like I knew I was doing it, but I wasn't like myself, so I guess. The final part of first sex was the afterwards.
Their s were most remarkable for what did not occur after first sex. When details were provided, nearly all described going back to their activities with their partner — for some this was watching TV, others returned to the party and chatted with friends, others just left without saying much.
As Jeffry described:. When conversation happened, there was only small talk, and no one actually discussed what just happened. For example:. Like we talked a little bit and then we like left… Then like we just talked, we was talking about what school she went to and then we started talking about what we was gonna do…we gonna keep in touch with each other, then me and my brothers left. The small subset that described talking with their partner about what happened did so days afterwards, in writing and over the telephone, as illustrated by Jeffry and Paul:.
She said did you like it?
I go yeah. If it was good or whatever, or not. When asked about their feelings after their first sexual encounter, all but one described the experience in a positive, or at least more positive than negative, manner. Joe describes an emotional high from first sex:. I just got some and was on kingdom road. Participants described romantic expectations, such as expecting that sex would deepen their emotional relationship, lead to long-term commitment, increase their feelings of love, and generally change their lives, making them feel different in some way.
But you know, I guess not. Just like a regular day, the other day. Several others rued the fact that their first sex was not with a special enough partner, and hypothesised that their feeling of disappointment were due to not being with the right person. He approached first and subsequent sex as a transaction.Want to lose virginity before leaving for Indianapolis Indiana
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