Some recent accounts of young adult sexual behaviors seem to want to suggest . . . that all is indeed well. Some writers celebrate young women's sexual license as a way to cheer on the alleged evening of the old double standard for men and women when it comes to sexual adventuring.
Others, in documenting the sex lives of youth, hardly veil their enthusiasm for the spread of serious sexual activity among them. As long as sex is "safe" and consensual, these writers seem happy to expand freedom to larger segments of youth and to increasingly lower ages.
We are less upbeat.
To be clear, we do not raise doubts about these optimistic viewpoints because we are puritanical prudes intent on eliminating pleasure from young people's lives. We raise doubts because we have heard too much directly from the mouths of emerging adults themselves about the major pain and damage that their free pursuit of sexual pleasure has often caused in their lives.Christian Smith, Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood (Oxford University Press, 2011), 149-50