Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Sexual Debut

  • Greta L. Stuhlsatz
  • Ashley B. Taylor
  • Brenda J. Lohman
  • Tricia K. Neppl
  • Shane A. Kavanaugh
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_2479-1



Generally, the time one experiences heterosexual sexual intercourse (e.g., vaginal-penile) for the first time; increasingly, sexual debut also includes sexual experiences not involving penile/vaginal intercourse such as anal intercourse.


Evolutionary theory posits that an integral developmental process in adolescence is the attainment of reproductive status. This occurs when an adolescent develops “physical and social competencies needed to gain access to a new and highly contested biological resource: sex and, ultimately, reproduction” (Ellis et al. 2012, p. 615). Through developing these competencies, adolescents and young adults may become sexually promiscuous and competitive (Weisfeld and Coleman 2005) leading them to engage in sexual behavior or experiencing their sexual debut. Considering the importance of this evolutionary milestone, it is essential that a...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Greta L. Stuhlsatz
    • 1
  • Ashley B. Taylor
    • 1
  • Brenda J. Lohman
    • 1
  • Tricia K. Neppl
    • 1
  • Shane A. Kavanaugh
    • 2
  1. 1.Iowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.Compass Tree CounselingAmesUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Carey Fitzgerald
    • 1
  1. 1.University of South Carolina – BeaufortBlufftonUSA