What’s Love Got to Do with It? Sexual Behaviors of Opposite-Sex Couples during Emerging Adulthood

Christine E. Kaestle, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Developing sexual relationships and engaging in sexual activity are important components of emerging adulthood for many individuals and are connected to issues of health, love, and wellbeing. To describe the sexual activities of young adults with their current partners and to determine if these activities are predicted by love between partners, I analyzed data from 6,494 young adults who reported a current sexual relationship in Wave III of Add Health. The findings indicate that mutually high levels of loving between partners are associated with a wide range of sexual activities, including oral sex for males and females and anal sex for males. These results emphasize the positive role of sexuality in loving relationships and have important implications for STI and HIV prevention efforts.

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Presented in Session 72: Relationships & Sexual Behavior in Youth