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Discourses of teenage sexuality

Shaw, Janis Margaret

Description

This research investigates the conditions that prevent safe sex amongst teenage women and men. It integrates survey techniques and statistical methods with focus group discussions and discourse analysis as the methods of inquiry. Initially, I proposed that a discourse of romantic love' could explain the dissonance between teenagers' knowledge about sexually transmissible diseases and their infrequent use of condoms. However, when teenagers told their own stories about sexual...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorShaw, Janis Margaret
dc.date.accessioned2017-08-15T00:10:40Z
dc.date.available2017-08-15T00:10:40Z
dc.date.copyright1995
dc.identifier.otherb1910161
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/123817
dc.description.abstractThis research investigates the conditions that prevent safe sex amongst teenage women and men. It integrates survey techniques and statistical methods with focus group discussions and discourse analysis as the methods of inquiry. Initially, I proposed that a discourse of romantic love' could explain the dissonance between teenagers' knowledge about sexually transmissible diseases and their infrequent use of condoms. However, when teenagers told their own stories about sexual encounters, the influence of a 'romantic' script was not supported. Instead, they spoke with enthusiasm about the intimacy and pleasure which shaped their experience of sexual encounters and sexual relationships. In contrast, teachers and parents spoke in ways that often endorsed the imperative for disease prevention, but that did not allow discussion of teenagers' sexual pleasure nor of their desire for sexual intimacy in relationships. During 1992,1 conducted a survey of 794 students (aged between 16 and 20 years) at senior secondary colleges in Canberra. The central findings were derived from questions that asked the teenage respondents about their most recent sexual encounter. I constructed a quantitative model in which respondents' reports of intercourse without a condom were regressed on (1) using oral contraception, (2) relationship status—being with regular versus casual partners, (3) drinking alcohol at the time of the encounter, and (4) including sex games or water play in the encounter. Oral contraception showed a very strong association with unsafe sex, and was heavily confounded with being in a regular sexual relationship. There was no association between drinking alcohol and using (or not using) condoms. Playing sex games was associated with unsafe sex, and this effect was independent of the other variables. The practices depicted in the survey results are consistent with the discourse of intimacy and pleasure that emerged from analysis of the focus group discussions. Teenagers are more worried about unwanted pregnancy than about sexually transmissible disease. In many instances they know that the risk of infection is slight, and if they are using oral contraception with a partner who has had little or no previous sexual experience it 'makes sense' to them not to use a condom. Teenagers often find it difficult to talk about condoms in sexual encounters, although they can speak freely about them elsewhere. The focus group findings emphasised the difficulties in intimate communication—feeling apprehensive about a partner's expectations and fearing rejection. A reference to condoms is also a reference to intercourse and this correspondence inhibits talking about condoms until partners are clear about each others' intentions. If teenagers have a ready repertoire for talking about condoms in ways that are playful and light-hearted, then they may use condoms more often. The results of this research emphasise the value of producing knowledge that reflects teenagers' subjective experience and is thus relevant to the conduct of their sexual relationships. In concluding, I propose that the different ways of speaking about sex highlight barriers to the use of condoms and to the promotion of safe sex in school settings. Sex education could be directed more deliberately toward the 'window of opportunity' that exists early in teenagers' sexual experience, when they may exchange the use of condoms for oral contraception. At this time, teenage women and men could be assisted to adopt lively and competent ways in which to talk about and handle condoms, located in their expectations of encountering intimacy and pleasure with sexual partners.
dc.format.extent299 p.
dc.language.isoen
dc.subject.lcshTeenagers Sexual behaviorAustralia Canberra (A.C.T.)
dc.subject.lcshSafe sex in AIDS prevention Australia Canberra (A.C.T.)
dc.subject.lcshSexually transmitted diseases Prevention Equipment and supplies
dc.subject.lcshCondoms Australia Canberra (A.C.T.)
dc.titleDiscourses of teenage sexuality
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
local.contributor.supervisorLegge, David
local.contributor.supervisorSantow, Gigi
local.contributor.supervisorWorsely, Tony
dcterms.valid1995
local.description.notesThis thesis has been made available through exception 200AB to the Copyright Act.
local.type.degreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.date.issued1995
local.contributor.affiliationThe Australian National University
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5d67b56e6e71d
dc.date.updated2017-08-04T01:13:39Z
local.mintdoimint
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