Cover image for The sex lives of teenagers : revealing the secret world of adolescent boys and girls
The sex lives of teenagers : revealing the secret world of adolescent boys and girls
Ponton, Lynn E.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Plume, 2001.

Physical Description:
x, 285 pages ; 21 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ27 .P66 2000C Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
HQ27 .P66 2000C Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



'If you really want to know what teenagers think about sex, this is the book to read' - Michael Thompson, author of 'Raising Cain' With more and more teenagers having sex before the age of sixteen and others feeling pressured to before they're ready, this no-holds-barred look at a subject often considered taboo by parents, teachers and adolescents themselves will be much in demand. 'Superb...offers an eye-opening view of adolescent sexuality' - Library Journal

Author Notes

Dr. Lynn Ponton is a psychoanalyst and professor at the University of California in San Francisco

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Respected adolescent psychiatrist Ponton (The Romance of Risk) effectively addresses parents' and teens' questions about sexual development in this down-to-earth primer. She finds that teenagers face the same issues and experiences as adults, but often struggle through them with less information and expertise. Making the case that all teenagers have a sexual identity and sexual life, even though it may not be readily apparent, Ponton shows that, if they are not coerced, expressions of teenage sexuality can provide important explorations of the self and relationships with others. She offers valuable suggestions to alleviate a shared sense of discomfort when parents try to talk with their children about sexuality, emphasizing the importance of using simple language, admitting to embarrassment when it arises. Drawing on her work with youths from all backgrounds in the San Francisco area, Ponton tackles a variety of tough topicsÄfrom those that are often perceived as embarrassing, like masturbation and fantasies, to stigmatized ones, like bi- and homosexuality. The final chapters focus on the potentially devastating consequences of risky or forced sex (including HIV infection and abortion), and show how parents and teens can work on realistic parameters for sexual consent. She also includes fascinating descriptions of the therapeutic process, in which Ponton admits moments when she, like a parent, feels herself losing her connection with certain patients. Ponton remains warm, unsensationalistic and empathetic, always focused on the task at handÄhelping teenagers and their parents develop the necessary skills to achieve healthier emotional and sexual lives. (Sept 18) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This superb book offers an eye-opening view of adolescent sexuality through the lens of teen-therapist dialogs interwoven with keen cultural commentary. Ponton, a psychiatrist with 20 years' experience working with adolescents and their parents and author of The Romance of Risk: Why Teenagers Do the Things They Do, is observant, articulate, and compassionate in her conversations with her clients and their parents and in her descriptions of their dilemmas. Areas of concern include sexual name-calling like "slut," fantasies and masturbation, rock concerts, sex on the net, pressures and misconceptions about becoming sexually active, homosexuality, pregnancy, STDs, violence, and parental sexuality. She excels at inducing family members to be honest and rational with themselves and to talk with one another, setting an example for readers pondering their own situations. Her audience includes both parents and professionals working with young people; many teens themselves would benefit from reading this. An appendix provides tips for parents and teens for thinking and talking about sex. Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries.DMartha Cornog, Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Forbidden Fruitp. 1
1. Studs and Sluts: The Dating Gamep. 9
2. Here Comes Puberty: The Many Meanings of Menstruationp. 27
3. Alarming Arousal: Sexual Fantasies and Masturbationp. 45
4. Safety in Numbers: The Guiltless Mosh Pitp. 78
5. Coming and Going Online: The Interface of Sex and Technologyp. 97
6. Unnatural Partners? Intimacy and Intercoursep. 122
7. Not My Child: Homosexuality, Bisexuality, and Sexual Orientationp. 148
8. A Tale of Two Pregnanciesp. 174
9. Lara's Theme: Sex, Stigma, and STDsp. 197
10. The Dark Side: When Violence and Force Join Sexualityp. 216
11. None of My Business: Parents and Sexp. 237
Epilogue: Ready or Notp. 257
Appendixp. 263
Endnotesp. 273