Date of Award

4-2008

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Dr. Angela Moe

Second Advisor

Dr. Laura Citrin

Third Advisor

Dr. Susan Caulfield

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

This research was conceived when I acknowledged the ways in which women of my generation have been educated about their bodies and about their sexuality. In a review of the literature on adolescent female sexuality, there is substantial evidence to suggest that in regards to early female sex education, adolescent sexuality is linked with danger, victimization, and passivity. Accordingly, it is asserted that these understandings of female sexuality disallow young girls to see themselves as initiators and decision-makers thus compromising their development of sexual subjectivity and responsibility in adulthood.

Data for this project were collected through ten semi-structured interviews with women between the ages of 18 and 22 who were enrolled in sociology courses at the time the interviews occurred. I recruited participants for the project by going into various sociology courses and making a brief presentation; additionally, fliers were distributed inviting those who were interested in participating to contact me for an interview. Results affirm previous research in the area of adolescent female sexuality with regards to sexual education throughout the life course. This research raises additional insights related to the level of support, via education and resources, that young girls need in order to become self-informed, responsible decision makers once they reach adulthood.

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