From the onset of puberty and into adolescence, girls experience an increased sex drive and a growing interest in forging intimate relationships. These relationships tend to be short-lived and change frequently, however; most teenagers fall in and out of love several times. Girls tend to be more interested in the romantic aspect of dating than adolescent boys.
By the end of adolescence (about age 20), two-thirds of young women have masturbated to orgasm, and many have begun engaging in sexual intercourse. There has been a recent trend for increased numbers of younger teenagers to practise sexual behaviours other than vaginal intercourse, such as petting to orgasm and oral sex. The peer pressure on teenage girls to gain sexual experience is less than it is for boys, but nonetheless these influences are very strong. The responsibility for deciding about contraception and safe sex is often left to the girl. Thus it is very important that young women are well-informed about the potential consequences of having sex, such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
In addition to the rapid and powerful physical changes during this transition period, a teenage girl also has to contend with emotional, psychological, social, and mental change and growth – which make adolescence an exciting, but also a stressful and confusing time. Teenagers naturally seek to form an identity for themselves, and this includes their sexual identity: sexual orientation may become an issue during adolescence. Adolescence can be particularly difficult for teens who feel different from their peers. Sexually active adolescent girls may worry they are promiscuous, while sexually inactive girls may believe that they are abnormal compared with their peers. Keeping the channels of communication open with parents and other responsible adults can greatly ease this turbulent transition period, and provides balance to sometimes undesirable peer influences.