Increasing levels of androgen and estrogen have an effect on the thought processes of adolescents and have been described as being in the minds "of almost all adolescents a good deal of the time".

One study from 1996 documented the interviews of a sample of junior high school students in the United States.

Among those who were sexually active, the majority (82%) used contraception.

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In humans, sexual interest may be expressed in a number of ways, such as flirting, kissing, masturbation, or having sex with a partner.

Sexual interest among adolescents, as among adults, can vary greatly, and is influenced by cultural norms and mores, sex education, as well as comprehensive sexuality education provided, sexual orientation, and social controls such as age of consent laws.

They were trying to balance maintaining a good reputation with trying to maintain a romantic relationship and wanting to behave in adult-like ways. Many boys believed that their male peers who were abstinent would not as easily climb the social ladder as sexually active boys.

Some boys said that for them, the risks that may come from having sex were not as bad as the social risks that could come from remaining abstinent.

The girls who viewed virginity as a stigma did not experience this shaming.

Even though they privately thought of virginity as a stigma, these girls believed that society valued their virginity because of the stereotype that women are sexually passive.

Girls typically think of virginity as a gift, while boys think of virginity as a stigma.

In interviews, girls said that they viewed giving someone their virginity as like giving them a very special gift.

Contraceptives specifically reduce the chance of pregnancy.

The risks are higher for young adolescents because their brains are not neurally mature. The sexual maturation process produces sexual interest and stimulates thought processes.

Those conducting the study speculated that fewer girls say they have ever had sex because girls viewed teenage parenthood as more of a problem than boys.