chapter  10
13 Pages

Social Sex: Young Women and Early Sexual Relationships


Girls and young women’s fi rst sexual experiences are not always part of a monogamous relationship, but instead operate to sustain social groupings (Hirst, 2004; Lavie-Ajayi, 2007). There is a substantive minority of young women who experience and experiment with having multiple partners, serial monogamy, one-night stands, group sex and other nonmonogamous sexual relationships, often from as young as 14-years-old (Bellis, Hughes & Ashton, 2004). For some, these sexual relationships could be a source of excitement, pleasure and enjoyment; for others the relationship could have harmful outcomes. Certainly these relationships need attention and support as young women in such relationships are more vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unintended pregnancy and exploitation by partners (Johnson et al., 2001). These young women comprise a signifi cant minority, whose behavior has important implications for the sexual health of the general population and epidemiological examination of infection control; as well as important contributions to the general discussion on young people’s sexual health and wellbeing. Yet non-monogamous sexual activity of young people is rarely covered in professional literature; it is rare or absent in both research literature and sexual health and sex education literature.