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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » New Teen Sex Survey

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Author Topic: New Teen Sex Survey
Executive Director & Founder
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(H/T to Cory Silverberg)

Planned Parenthood Toronto just released the results of a big teen sex survey they have been doing:

Looking at it, I'm really glad to have it, So far, I'm finding very few surprises per what I have observed here over the last 10+ years, and yet, many of the findings conflict with the unfounded ideas so many people have around teen sexuality. I also love their findings per what teens want in sexuality education: sounds familiar. [Smile]

It's mighty nice to have this.

Take a look at it for yourself: what do you think?

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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That's very interesting!

I found it very interesting that only "Eighty-three percent had never visited a clinic or doctor for any sexual health reason."

That's especially interesting to me because, as the survey later states in their "Youth Bill of Sexual Health Care Rights" that "Testing and treatment for STIs and HIV is available at all clinics and is free." I am surprised that so few people are taking advantage of such services; I would assume that fee and availability was a major deterrent to Americans. (Yes, there are places you can go for free or pay based on a sliding scale, but I've found it to be not so easy to access those places and/or it's not cheap at all.)

I had been rereading the Safe, Sound & Sexy article the other day and was really struck by this statistic: "In the world we live in, if you're sexually active, right now you've got about a 70% chance of transmitting or contracting a disease or infection before you're done with college." Fortunately, I graduated college without anything (and was very careful about safer sex and got tested at least once a year.)

However, when I looked at this site poll on Who's been tested? and see that only 10% of female or female-identified and an incredible 1% of male or male-identified sexually active poll takers "are female or female-identified and have had a full STI/STD screening at least once, and have them every year."

I think how of some European countries have great HIV awareness/prevention campaigns and better sex ed in schools, but also know from personal experience that STI testing and some aspects of safer sex are not as promoted in the same way they are at Scarleteen.

The bottom line: I always knew that much of the US is lacking in comprehensive sex ed and the like, but I did not realize that this void is quite present beyond US borders. We all know, whether or not we want to admit it to ourselves, that teens are having sex; to me, that's not the problem. But the lack of people who aren't actively taking advantage of sexual health care, be it in the US or Canada, is quite shocking and scary! (Then again, that's nothing new but still...)

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Scarleteen Volunteer
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I think (and the survey seems to confirm this) that so much of why people don't seek sexual health care is because of shame/fear of being judged/fear of being found out to be sexually active. We are taught in so many ways from a very early age that certain parts and functions of our bodies are something to be ashamed of, and it isn't at all surprising to hear that even in places where sexual healthcare is widely available, teens don't seek it out. (Example: Part of the thesis I'm writing this year is the media influence on teen sexuality, so this past weekend I grabbed a few typical teen magazines from the supermarket, just to get an idea of what was out there. Each one had a section on sexuality/sexual health, and in every single mag, those sections were sealed shut - the seal had to be removed before those pages could be read. That, imho, sends a pretty clear message that these topics are something Not To Be Discussed.)

It might also have something to do with the idea that we go to the doctor when something goes wrong, not when everything is okay. Preventive medecine is not really a major part of medical practice in western societies, and combined with the fear of seeking sexual healthcare, I think people are really reluctant to take care of their sexual health even if services are readily available, and cheap/free.

I've gone a bit off topic here, but this survey is fantastic, and I hope school districts especially take note.

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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