- Family and Parenting»
What Every Teenager Need to Know
You Kown It All and Parents Are Square?
The fact that ads have been turner off for this Hub just shows how stupidly we approach matters of sexuality in the U.S. There are many good books which could be appended as ads. I am not writing this for ads, however, but to reach out to young people with the truth.
Being a teen, preteen and young adult is not easy. Such concepts are fairly recent in the history of humans, so we haven't got it right just yet. It's only in the modern age that teens even existed. Before, you were a child, then passed through certain ceremonies, each culture with it's own, into an adult member of the tribe. That often occurred with puberty, with girls and around the age of 14 with boys. So feel free to invent yourself as a teen.
If you are a teen in the U.S., know that your country is losing it's position of dominance in the world, that most of us will suffer. and that you will have an especially tough time making it in the world of the near future.
Teens, you like to think you are unique. Every person is unique. Yet teens, you are conformists, longing to belong to a group. You even rebel into conformity, following the latest craze, like those disks in your ears or tattoos. You might not even know that people have been tattooing themselves for thousands of years!. I suggest you start thinking for yourselves and don't be a sheep.
Your parents may let their embarrassment inhibit them from telling you the truth about life. They try to guide you, but they made mistakes in the past or have habits now that they may not want you to know about. Some parents guide by criticism, prohibition and threats. This doesn't work well unless they use violence or other negative consequence to control you. Then that in turn may result in bad outcomes. Parents are having a difficult time with the forces of society, especially destructive ones, pulling at teens.
Society is also pulling at you. Constant innovation (something very new to humans), conflicting norms, the pressure to conform/rebel, and bad economic conditions all make choices difficult.
Sex is the most problematic, interesting and the strongest of all the forces, but I'll tell you about drugs, money, jobs, friends.
Most importantly, I'm going to tell you the truth about life.
We must be taught to consider the
consequences of acting on impulse. Add to this the fact that the brain
is not fully mature, especially in the areas of impulse control and
decision making, until 25-6. Yet, the decisions we make while young will direct the rest of our lives and may kill us. A cruel joke of evolutionary development! For most of the time of humanity was on this planet, we lived in small groups where behavior could be controlled because everyone knew everyone else and where the dangers were famine and wild animals, not automobiles, guns, "sexting" and injected or snorted drugs. Life remained unchanged for 1000s of years. Teens did not face the rapid changes and the pressures we see in modern society. Choices were few. A woman found a mate to protect her and the family they would create. Men hunted, made war on other tribes, sat around the fire and made up stories, keep their hands and minds busy fashioning implements and such. Women gathered, took care of the babies, cooked, made things, and help each other. Roles were fixed; entertainment was self made. People laughed, danced and sang as we do, but they made their own instruments and music. There were no Malls; shopping did not exist as an activity. Someone who broke the rules of the tribe and became a danger to others might be simply ostracized or killed.
Sex -- The body is made to desire sex. Men, especially teens, are poisoned by testosterone to the point where they think of sex every 5-10 seconds. This is the fault of evolution. Testosterone makes muscle and bone strong. Man, the protector and worker, is necessary. But the drive to procreate often out-weighs reason and can be difficult to put out of mind so that men can do other things. We are not fully evolved creatures. Your parents wanted to have sex when they were teenagers, and probably still want it. You did not invent sex. In the mid 60s (that's the 1964-6 time) and early 70's, sex drugs and rock and roll began to be drivers of teen morals. As a rebellion against 50's morality as spurred by Women's Liberation, we stopped wearing bras, had sex as "free love" and smoked weed and hashish. Not all people did this, but many. The Puritan religious movement was a reaction against the loose sexual morals of Europe, as well as the control of the Pope. The "Roaring 20s" were famous not just for alcohol abuse, but for sexual promiscuity and drug use.
Biologically, we are supposed to want to have sex with many partners. Sexual feelings hijack thinking process. Hormones flood the brain and body with one intention, more humans, please. We are almost helpless, almost. There are several major problems with this sexual force: disease, pregnancy, violence, lack of consideration for the individual and social consequences. Teens, you rarely think about consequences when it comes to sexuality. It's not your fault. It's nature's fault. You have to understand this and THINK! You are not helpless, though you may fee so. You want to have fun. We all do. I'm a woman over 60 and still want to have lots of fun. There are many ways to have fun without indiscriminate sex and drugs. Many of these ways are sexy, without the danger of actual intercourse and sex. Dancing, sports, music, all the arts and many activities will let you experience other people in an intimate way.
"Boys", you want to have sex a lot and with as many people as possible. You want closeness, love and acceptance just as much as girls, but you are driven by hormones to procreate. Only social controls keep this in check. "Girls" want sex, too, but you usually want love, closeness and recognition more. (I'll continue to use "boy" and "girls" to refer to teens.) Girls, you want someone to love, understand and accept you how you are. Boys, too, but you are driven more by sex to have intercourse. Both sexes are competing for partners. Never, never, never put sexual pictures of yourself in the internet or send them in letters and by cell phones! Never meet strangers you contacted on the internet. The danger is real. The pull for validation is strong. People know these weakness and desires and will take advantage of you. Read about how sexual predators "groom" young people. It's very similar to how gangs get young recruits.
Girls, value and respect yourselves. Find friends who will value you and respect you. If there is a culture where you live where sex is expected, change that. Organize girls at you school, church and club to learn about the male libido and your own needs and body. Don't have intercourse with many people. It truly is not in your best interest. Be affectionate, but don't put yourself in risky situations where you could be in danger. Men view girls who are "easy" as sluts, not marriage material. You probably will want the security of marriage for yourself and your children, if you have any. Girls, your problem is difficult. Your body is advertising that you are ready for sex. You use sex to get love and acceptance. You want to be sexual, to explore the beauty and excitement of all that means, the glamor, the thrill. You must find your way through that safely. Be sexy, but dress appropriately. Don't advertise your assets blatantly; It's too much for boys and men. How much to tease, to test, to be sexy is not an easy decision. You may get unwanted consequences like rape and the rejection and derision of other girls. Learn how your body responds to sex. Most females do not have sexual arousal and completion through intercourse because there are not the nerve endings for that in the vagina, except at the opening and going 1 inch inside. The clitoris has more nerve endings than a penis. Nipple stimulation can be just as important for sexual pleasure. A plug-in vibrator, the kind used for massages, not those battery operated things shaped like a penis, is what you need to experiment, finding the best feelings for you. This is not meant to be a sex manual, but I just wanted to say a few things about finding your own pleasure sites. The whole area near the labia, including the anus, and the labia themselves usually respond to vibration. Protect yourself by using condoms when you do decide to experience the gift of sexual pleasure with others. There is a female condom, a larger version of the male condom, that a woman can insert before sex that will protect from unwanted pregnancy and V.D. Learn to talk about your body and pleasure so that you will be able to communicate to a lover your needs and satisfaction and respond to the lover's. Birth control pills can reduce permanently your sex drive and level of pleasure. Doctors don't tell you that. One last thing in the area of sex, there is a movement to take control of you sexual and procreative rights, control of your own body, from you. The people supporting this movement want to shut down your access to information and services. People of my generation fought hard to get these rights. Don't let us go back to "back alley" abortions. Fight for your rights.
Boys, value yourselves and be kind to yourselves. Sexual hormones are pushing to have sex. Do it carefully and choose the right people. No one but you is going to do the right thing, change the morals of society and respect yourself. This is the real test of a human, standing up for what is right. Don't just screw everything that moves, or stands still long enough. Resist when others want to talk about conquests. Tell them that the quality of an experience is more important than the quantity and that manhood is measured in many ways: bravery, kindness, loyalty, strength of conviction, perseverance, intelligence, love, playfulness and the ability to follow a dream. Masturbation is fine, just don't overdo it. You have to find the balance between your perceived need for sex and the objectification of another as the means to your pleasure. Respect yourself and others as you navigate these dangerous waters. It's easy to fall in with people who will lead you to mortal danger in sex. Be strong enough to find out who you are and form a philosophy around the worth of people. Find out what is pleasurable for your body and learn to talk about that with partners. Practice saying the words, don't wait until an important moment when you are having sex. It's difficult for boys to talk about sex, so you often do it with denigrating words and manner, making fun of it. Start using the proper words for body parts. Be "a real man" by insisting that boys and girls be real and honest when talking about sex around you. Be a real man by protecting yourself and partners from VD and unwanted pregnancy.
Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and questioning people, know that you are born that way, that you are not alone, that all the above applies to you. If you feel alone, the bravest thing you can do is to reach out to others. You were created by the universe just like everyone else. The danger of revealing yourself, if you have been "in the closet" is real. Hitler killed gays along with Jews. Gay people are still targeted, beaten and treated cruelly. Built friends. Live in love, respect and joy.
More to come on other aspects of life.