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Most of these do not explicitly state the sexual or nonsexual nature of relationships; the fact that homosexuality was taboo in Western European cultures at the time means that some sexual relationships may be hidden, but at the same time the rareness of romantic friendship in modern times means that references to nonsexual relationships may be misinterpreted, as alleged by Faderman, Coontz, Anthony Rotundo, Douglas Bush, and others.
The content of Shakespeare's works has raised the question of whether he may have been bisexual.
Romantic friendship between women in Europe and North America became especially prevalent in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, with the simultaneous emergence of female education and a new rhetoric of sexual difference.
By ages 15-16, 34% had had sexual intercourse; the proportion was significantly higher among blacks (45%) than among others (31%).
Most adolescents reported neither frequent dating nor a steady partner by ages 15-16, although the prevaleance of such reports was related to friendship patterns in late childhood.
Although twenty-six of Shakespeare's sonnets are love poems addressed to a married woman (the "Dark Lady"), one hundred and twenty-six are addressed to an adolescent boy (known as the "Fair Youth").
The amorous tone of the latter group, which focus on the boy's beauty, has been interpreted as evidence for Shakespeare's bisexuality, although others interpret them as referring to intense friendship or fatherly affection, not sexual love.
CONTEXT: Preadolescent friendships and early teenage dating relationships have implications for adolescent sexual initiation that may differ by race and gender.