Sexual activity among teenagers and the problems associated with it is a widespread concern all over the world. Although with the efforts over the years there is a reduction in teenage sex, still it continues to be a problem. The alarming statistics from different parts of the world on teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDs have been a major concern. However, over the last decade in the United States, the percentage of all high school students (9-12th grade) who report ever having had sexual intercourse has reduced. A study points out that 12% percent of teen males and 10% of teen females have had heterosexual oral sex but not vaginal intercourse (Mosher et al. 362).
These statistics are comparatively better to previous decades. There are also good signs such as the proportion of teens who had ever had sex declined from 49% to 46% among females and from 55% to 46% among males between 1995 and 2002 (Abma et al. 24). Among sexually active teens, rates of contraceptive use – including condom use – have increased. This has not only reduced the overall teen pregnancy rates but also the incidences of STDs.
Though this is a good sign, despite these trends, statistics point out that about one third (34%) of young women become pregnant at least once before they reach the age of 20 i.e about 820,000 in a year (Henshaw), and roughly about four million teens contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) each year (Kaiser Family Foundation n.pag). The consequences of pregnancy, especially among the teenager, are severe. It was reported that in the year 2000, about 240,000 children were born to girls aged 18 or younger (National Center for Health Statistics 46) Further these reports also pointed out that all these teenage mothers were unmarried. These mothers and their children have an awfully high probability of long-term poverty and welfare dependence (Rector et al.).
There are several studies that bring out statistics on teenage sex and the related consequences. The epidemic of teen pregnancy and infection has set up a debate in school systems across the country. While one group argues that there is a need to distribute condoms another group argues that that will be a license for them to have sex. While some argue that teenagers will have sex whether contraceptives are available or not, so public policy should aim to reduce the risk of pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases by making condoms easily available, others claim that such policies wholly support teen sex and will only worsen the problem (Douglas and Gardiner). This paper intends to bring out an argument on teenage sex and the impact of sexual activity on the teenager.
As it is a proven fact that a child after its birth starts to talk or walk at a specific point of time, it is also a fact that teenagers face the emotional feelings of sex at that specific time or age. Therefore, as the child is supported by the parents and others to talk and walk, it is also important for the teenager to be educated on sex. This can involve the benefits of abstinence especially on their health, education, and social life, the importance of safe sex, and also the psychological impact.
For most people, intimate relationships bring in many positive and negative emotional consequences. For instance, if a teen is having sexual intercourse voluntarily and is using appropriate protection, has decided to have sex ahead of time and without feeling pressured or forced to have sex, then the emotional consequences may be positive such as joy, pleasure, feeling loved and wanted, and excitement. On the other hand, negative emotional consequences may occur if they are forced into it or fall into emotions. Negative consequences such as feeling used, getting pregnant, contracting a sexually transmitted infection, or even feeling bad about themselves are major problems that lead teenagers into serious psychological problems (TeenGrowth.com n.pag; Hitti n.pag).
Further, the negative consequences may result in fear, anxiety, or guilt about pregnancy or disease is common. Anger is another feeling if the sex was forced or if the relationship ends. Sadness about losing virginity or a reputation perhaps may be felt.
There are also cases where some adolescents who have fallen for their emotions regret and decide to postpone having further intercourse until a later point in their lives. Besides, if the teenager is exposed before a parent or someone else unexpectedly, the parent’s reaction such as disapproval, shaming, blaming may have further negative emotional consequences for the teen. Teens, as well as adults, have to understand their own values, needs, and priorities – and choose wisely for themselves (TeenGrowth.com n.pag).
It is a well-known fact that early sex makes a teenager more likely to have academic problems, commit crimes, drink, smoke, and suffer emotional problems compared with peers who wait until 17 or later. In the majority of the cases, it is the friends and experiences that influence when a teen falls off the abstinence wagon (Begley n.pag). Therefore, it is more appropriate to say that it is the responsibility of parents, educators, and society as a whole to protect teenagers.
Teenage sex is a major problem resulting in unwanted pregnancy and also the reason for the spread of STDs. It is not the question of whether the teenager is involved in sex but it is very important for them to understand before getting involved the consequences. The awareness of the negative consequences is high among the teenager but it is also important for them to take bold steps either to abstain or the have to save sex. Parents and educators must create awareness in the teenagers and support them emotionally in case they fall off the abstinence.
Abma, J.C. et al. Teenagers in the United States: sexual activity, contraceptive use, and childbearing, 2002, Vital and Health Statistics, (2004), Series 23, No. 24.
Begley S. Why teen sex is good, (2007) The bulletin. Web.
Douglas, J.B. and Gardiner, K.N. Teen Sex: Truth and Consequences, February 21, 1993 The Orlando Sentinel.
Henshaw S.K. U.S. Teenage Pregnancy Statistics with Comparative Statistics for Women Aged 20-24. New York: (2003)The Alan Guttmacher Institute.
Hitti, M. Teen Sex May Take Emotional Toll. 2007 WebMD Inc. Web.
Kaiser Family Foundation, U.S. Teen Sexual Activity (2005). Web.
Mosher WD et al., Sexual behavior and selected health measures: men and women 15–44 years of age, United States, Advance Data from Vital and Health Statistics, (2005), No. 362.
National Center for Health Statistics, Births: Final Data for 2000, National Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 50, No. 5 (2002), p. 46.
Rector, R.E., Johnson, K.A. and Noyes, L.R. Sexually Active Teenagers Are More Likely to Be Depressed and to Attempt Suicide (2003) Center for Data Analysis Report #03-04. Web.
TeenGrowth.com What are the emotional consequences of teen sex? Web.