Perceptions and experiences of first sexual intercourse in Australian adolescent females

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Adolescent Health, 2008, 43 (6), pp. 593 - 599
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Purpose To better understand the factors that influence the initiation of first intercourse among adolescent females and to explore the context in which this occurs. Methods A purposive sample of sexually active female teenagers aged between 14 and 19 years were recruited from sexual and reproductive health clinics across the Perth metropolitan area. Sixty-eight in-depth, semistructured interviews were conducted. Thematic analysis was employed to analyze the narrative data. Meanings and interpretations that emerged were constantly verified through subsequent inquiry. Results The degree of personal control over the factors that led to their first experience of intercourse determined how teenagers reflected upon the experience. Those who were ready were more likely to have delayed intercourse until they were comfortable with both when and with whom this occurred. In contrast, conforming to peer norms, coercion from sexual partners and being intoxicated were common reasons for premature and unwanted first experience of sexual intercourse.
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