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Transgender Youth Take First Romantic Steps But Have Less Sexual Experience Than Peers Prior to Transition, Study Shows

Specialized transgender care clinics are seeing increasing numbers of youth identifying themselves as transgender. While it's known that these young people have social and psychological vulnerabilities, a study "Sexual and Romantic Experiences of Transgender Youth Before Gender Affirmative Treatment" published in the March 2017 Pediatrics (published online Feb. 27) found that sexuality is also challenging for them.  Although they fall in love, develop romantic relationships and take other first steps of the common adolescent experience, they have less sexual experience than their peers before gender transition treatments are initiated. Researchers gave 137 gender-identity clinic referred adolescents a questionnaire on sexual experiences like sex and kissing, romantic experiences, sexual orientation, negative sexual experiences and sexual satisfaction and found transgender adolescents were both sexually and romantically active but less experienced, compared to the Dutch general population, with 5 percent reporting that they had had intercourse and 50 percent reporting romantic relationships. Researchers concluded that while sexuality is a key developmental element of the challenging period of puberty for all adolescents this seems even more so for transgender youth. Therefore doctors should be discussing sexuality in the clinics and more research is needed to focus on sex before, during and after gender affirmative treatments.


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