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Who Dates When?

Children develop crushes early on, and report "going together" as early as fifth grade. However, middle school seems to be the more typical time when adolescents begin developing an interest in members of the opposite sex.

Even while chaperoned dating has virtually disappeared, the median age at which dating begins decreased from sixteen in 1924 to thirteen in 1990. Most females begin dating by fourteen years of age, while males begin between fourteen and fifteen. Initially, dating takes the form of mixed-gender groups involved in common activities, with dating as a couple delayed until approximately fifteen or sixteen years of age. By sixteen, more than 90 percent of all adolescents report having had at least one date, and by their senior year in high school, 50 percent of adolescents report dating more than once a week. The majority of teens report having had at least one exclusive relationship during middle adolescence, lasting several months to perhaps a year. And even though females tend to be more assertive, males continue to initiate most dating encounters.

Additional topics

Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 3Dating - Who Dates When?, Steady Versus Multiple Dating, Dating And Sex, Not Dating - Conclusions