Dating romantic relationships adolescence
It’s not only the sex hormones that are involved in falling in love.
Ortigue and his colleagues (2010) used brain imaging to show that when a person falls in love, 12 areas of the brain work in tandem to release euphoria-inducing chemicals such as dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin.
In girls, the ovaries increase their production of oestrogen sixfold and in boys, the testes produce 20 times the amount of testosterone.
Both sexes have male and female hormones circulating in the bloodstream, but during adolescence a boy’s testosterone level becomes 20 to 60 per cent higher than that of a girl, while her oestrogen level becomes 20 to 30 per cent higher than his.
Adrenaline is a stress hormone, causing sweating, heart palpitations and dry mouth – just catching a glimpse of the new love can trigger these bodily sensations.
Dopamine stimulates desire and pleasurable feelings, and has been described as a ‘feel good’ hormone with similar effects to the drug cocaine. (2006) found heightened levels of dopamine in the brains of couples newly in love.
Given that adolescence is a time when there is a great deal of pressure to conform to peer norms, young people who are not linking up romantically can feel lonely and out of step with their peers. On a different advice site (quora.com), this young man similarly questions why he is different: I am 21 and never had a girlfriend. I feel kind of depressed and that I would never have a girlfriend. I’ve asked a couple of girls whom I like to go out with me in the past and they declined.
For example, on the internet site girlsaskguys.com, an anonymous young woman asks: I’ve never had a boyfriend or girlfriend. Of course, not every young person is interested in romantic relationships.
Many of these relationships were short term, especially among younger adolescents, but a significant number were a year or more in duration.
High concentrations of certain hormones for one’s age, or rapid fluctuations of hormone levels may trigger more negative moods and greater mood variability (Buchanan et al., 1992). Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.
Emotions associated with being ‘in love’ or ‘in lust’ are likely to be confused and confusing, even overwhelming for some (Temple-Smith et al., 2016). Fifth National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health 2013.
Adolescents are heavy consumers of online pornography, they are sexting, and using ‘apps’ to meet partners for casual sex hook-ups.
They may post on Facebook about their sexual and romantic successes and failures.