O n the Upper West Side, Dr. Marsha Levy-Warren, a psychologist, said she is seeing more and more preteenagers who are going on junior versions of dates in fifth grade, at 10 or 11 years old. By seventh grade, they have graduated to sex.
”I can’t tell you how many girls come in who are bereft about having had sex too soon,” she said. ”They went to a party, met a cute guy, he seemed to like them, they hooked up and did what they assumed everyone was doing. Then, they feel awful.”
On the Upper East Side, Dr. Cynthia Pegler, a specialist in adolescent medicine, sees girls brought in by their mothers when they outgrow the pediatrician. These sophisticated young women may not be having intercourse at 13, but they are having oral sex. ”They tell me oral sex is no big deal,” Dr. Pegler said. ”They don’t see it as sex, but as safe and fun and a prelude to intercourse, where before, it used to be the other way around.”
And in the suburbs, on Long Island, Dr. Wayne Warren, a psychologist, said groups of seventh and eighth graders rent limousines to take them to clubs in Manhattan, where they get drunk, grind on the dance floor and have oral sex in dim corners.
In a society that is always pushing the envelope, the age at which sexual experimentation begins is speeding up, too, say psychotherapists, health professionals and school officials, who are concerned about the health and emotional ramifications for young teenagers.
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