Youth sexuality is a fascinating phenomenon, characterized by multiple manifestations; linked to multiple ecological correlates; and developed through multiple pathways. As this diversity of developmental pathways indicates a need for utilizing a dynamic systems (DS) approach to model typical changes and transitions in youth’s sexual trajectories, this chapter presents an overview of how this approach is represented in the current literature. I first sketch dynamics in the approach of youth sexuality research over the past decades, after which I summarize trends in longitudinal research, focusing on a distinction between macro-, meso-, and micro-time development. After illustrating current applications of a DS approach in youth sexuality research, I discuss how the DS approach can be further incorporated in future research. In the final section, I argue how improving our understanding of youth’s sexual relationships and development through a DS approach leads to improved practical applicability for relational and sexual health promotion strategies.

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van de Bongardt, D. (2019). Youth’s sexual relationships and development: Improving our understanding through a dynamic systems approach. In Psychosocial Development in Adolescence: Insights from the Dynamic Systems Approach (pp. 160–176). doi:10.4324/9781315165844-10