When it comes to sexuality, ignorance is our greatest enemy. It is not sexual desire that causes problems in our lives or in our society; rather, it is the repression of those natural sexual urges that lead to the sexual problems that exist all around us.
A prime example is teenage pregnancy. People believe that the best way to deal with teenage pregnancy is to attack teenage sex. Telling teenagers that sex is dirty will not make them stop having sex. Attaching shame to sex will not stop sex from happening, instead it will breed ignorance and shame: two major sexual problems. Teens that see sex as a filthy and shameful thing will not talk about sex. They see sex as not being something that should be talked about, except in locker room snickers. Many believe that sex should take place, preferably while drunk, quickly, and with no premeditation. Contraception should never be mentioned, nor thought about.
It is this mindset among many teens that creates the frightening statistics. 70% of women who get pregnant do so within six months of first having sex. 10% of women get pregnant the first time they have sex. All of this grows from the belief that sex is a shameful and dirty thing. People think that bad things happen to bad people and that if they remain pure by not talking or thinking about "dirty" sex, nothing bad will happen to them. Ironically, the opposite is true. When their wall of repression cracks the slightest bit the ocean behind it spills out. Unplanned pregnancy comes from unplanned sex.
Sex is a joy and a physical manifestation of the empathy felt between two people. It is beautiful and should be cherished rather than concealed. Absolutely vital to any good or safe sex is communication. If you are not ready to talk to someone about sex, about contraception, about what to do if "something goes wrong" then you are NOT ready to have sex with that person. Teens must advance the sexual maturity of their minds as well as their bodies. Maturity is also a product of communication.
Before teens start thinking about, and certainly having, sexual intercourse they would be well advised to try another kind: verbal. The greatest pleasure from sex does not come from the physical bridge that is formed between two people, but rather through the mental bridge that should already be there.
Since I didn't see a question I'm assuming this is up for discussion. I have to say that SOME instances I can understand teenage pregnancy. I have a friend who got pregnant and she was on the pill and they used a condom. In that case I really can't blame them.
A lot of people I know don't talk about sex. All of my friends come to me for advice having to do with relationships and sex and stuff because they know that I won't judge them and that I know what I'm talking about. Some people assume I've done it all and I'm a slut because I know so much but I think that I know just enough. Guys assume I'm a slut because I know information too. They figure no girl can know this about a guy unless she's been around enough guy's and their systems. But...these aren't people I call my friends so it doesn't matter.
If you read about scarleteen you'll see that SEICUS (I think that's the name) showed that teaching abstinate-oriented sexual education didn't stop or prevent teenagers from having (any kind of) sex.
That's why I like scarleteen. It gives accurate information. You can talk about stuff, you can ask questions and not be thought a slut or a priss for having the information or questions.
PS: I think teenage pregnancy can be one of the saddest things I've ever seen. I had a friend that got pregnant when she was 14. She lied about her age and dated guys as old as 23 so it really was her fault. She got pregnant, didn't use a condom, and got gonneria (spelling?) to boot. She had to quit her modeling career. Today I saw a picture of her dead baby (I thought it was weird but my mom was a l&d nurse and says they always take pictures and do handprints and feetprints) and it was the saddest thing I've ever seen...
------------------ Dude, just smile and pass the zen margaritas...
I don't think the teenage pregnancy statistics are coming from the school of thought that sex is "shameful" and "dirty" I think it has more to do with being rebelious and carefree, as most teenagers are. Not only that, but self-esteem in teenagers as a whole has dropped radically in recent years, possibly contributing to the percentage of teenagers engaging in sexual activity.
just my humble opinion.
------------------ where is fancy bred? In the heart, or in the head?
Teenage pregnancy rates have actually gone markedly DOWN in the last twenty years. It is STD rates which are rising very swiftly.
I appreciate some of what you're saying, semisane, but I also think it's a highly complex issue that is multifaceted. Sex being taboo is indeed problematic (and you have to know you're preaching to the choir here) but I highly doubt it alone is the cause of teenage pregnancy. I, in fact, was born to young parents during the height of the "sexual revolution."
Many teens (and adults) know how to use boirth control, know where to get it, know what to do to practice safer sex. Many of them simply choose not to do these things.
I should also add that MANY first time sexual experiences (which often result in pregnacies) are more planned affairs than your average New England wedding. But plans are plans, and what really happens is what really happens, and aren't always copacetic.
I also feel it's important to illustrate that there are many different types of sex and many different types of sexual relationships. here at Scarleteen, we're of the mind that ALL of those sorts are okay when they're consensual, when they're honest, and when they're responsible.
I can appreciate that you obviously have very strong feelings about this topic. But sometimes it's a bit better to be a little less dogmatic so that people can look at things rather than feel blamed or be made to feel small. I don't really care for a comment like this here, "Teens that see sex as a filthy and shameful thing will not talk about sex," because as you can see, right here, plenty of teens are doing their level best to do just that. And I feel that accomplishment and effort should be recognized and commended. It's important; more important than negativity.
Thank you for your opinions. Nothing is ever simple and the only way we can ever really see the depth of a situation is through the reference of another person's opinion.
Posts: 9 | Registered: Sep 2000
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Just a new comment, I forgot to mention I agree that ignorance can be a total enemy. A good friend gave oral sex to her boyfriend and swallowed - twice. She asked my opinion and I told her, "duh! use a condom" when she kind of shamefully told me that she thought condoms were only for intercourse. *sigh* I wrote www.scarleteen.com in permanet marker and large letters on her hand and told her to read around.
------------------ I'm the good girl that everyone thinks is a bad girl pretending to be a good girl :D
i have a problem with people thinking that teenage pregnancy is ALWAYS a big mistake. well i am 19 i have two kids i am married and i am also a stay at home mom about to go to school. havibng kids has definately changed my life for the better. before i got pregnant i was always in trouble and fighting with my mom. now my life is great (minus a few hassles). i dont look at my kids as mistakes but as blessings and i am a really good mom and take care of my kids on my own with my husband with no help from anyone else. i am very proud of all of the responsible teenage mothers and fathers out there.
[/i](And all of us are very proud of all of you, especially in a society which all but commands you to have a child, but then pulls the support net right out from under you when you start to rear it.
A brief moment of proud contemplation for all the incredible young moms out there.)[i]
My personal opinion as to why teenage pregnancy is now looked on as a problem when it wasn't before is that it's because childhood/adolescence lasts much longer than it did before. Earlier, by the time one was in one's mid- to late teens and having children, one was considered an adult. Today, adulthood usually doesn't come until later; even college students aren't really regarded as genuine adults. Most people don't have a problem with adults having children, but "kids" having kids is frowned upon, because culture dictates that childhood is a time of irresponsibility and learning/growing up (which raising children would cut into).
------------------ To the rational mind there can be no offense, no obscenity, no blasphemy, but only information of greater or lesser value. -- Jennifer Diane Reitz
i spent 3 years of my life in italy, and everyone was really open with sexuality the museums we went to, no child laughed at gigled at the sight of a naked man or woman. people kissing on the street was not looked down upon ( all though a little strange to me at sometimes )
What a beautiful city. Its a shame in the more busy countries that censorship takes the romance out of a young woman kissing a man and makes it grotty. and makes artwork like that seem dirty. When all it is is a passionate way to express yourself.
Posts: 17 | From: Sydney, NSW, Australia | Registered: Aug 2000
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I understand what your saying there but I dont quite agree with it. Pregnancy is bigger than 9 months because you end up with a child at the end. This is quite serious as not only might someone disrupt their life quite badly, the child might suffer (that is another whole life) as they are not capable of looking after that child when they are young.
Posts: 711 | From: England | Registered: Nov 2000
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Having spent many years working in early child education, I would agree with Aria.
The truth of the matter is that our socities often simply offer FAR less support for young parents. If most young parents were offered the same support systems and respect older parents were, they would likely have just as much of a chance of being good parents.
The fact that plenty of them manage do to so IN SPITE OF having no support is more than commendable.
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