Teen Pregnancy and Birth Control
Children Having Children - An Epidemic?
What has happened to the idea of having responsible and safe sex? Every day I hear about young adults, under the age of 25, that already have 2 and 3 children. Not to mention the talk shows and articles about girls as young as 13 or younger being pregnant or sexually active, with no thoughts of either birth control or safe sex.
When I was a teenager, I made a decision. I decided that if I thought I was mature enough to have sex, I was mature enough to get on birth control. This was back in the days before AIDS was even mentioned, so the thought of sexually transmitted diseases was not forefront in my mind, but I was smart enough to know I was neither old enough or even close to being mature enough to have a child to raise. I was still basically a child myself, and looking back now, I really wasn't mature enough emotionally to be having a sexual relationship, but at least I never got pregnant until I was old enough to make the decision to have a child in my own time, rather than it being an unplanned event.
Abortions were very rare back then. As for myself, I decided one day to take myself to the family planning clinic, and asked for birth control. I don't understand why more young girls and teenagers don't take advantage of this option if they are going to be sexually active. At the very least, they should be thinking about protecting themselves, and others, from the horrible possibility of contracting AIDS. AIDS can kill you! Do they not understand this? Or do they have such low self esteem that they are willing to put their owl life on the line to be "popular" or gain the temporary attention of some boy that they happen to like at the time?
I personally think the main problem lies with low self esteem. Plus the parents may not know how to really talk to their children, not only about the biological aspects of sex, but the dangers of disease, and prevention of unwanted pregnancies. I feel that and using condoms, and insisting that the male in their "relationship" use them. Some parents may feel that if they bring up the subject of sex, they think it will start the child to thinking about sex, which will then lead to them having sex. Plus children are under a lot of peer pressure at younger and younger ages to have sex. Our media is bombarding us and our kids with sexual situations and suggestive language constantly. It's like the old saying, "Sex Sells". As a society, I believe we are failing our children. We are somehow failing to educate them enough about sex and all it entails, both emotionally and physically. We are not instilling our daughters with the self respect and love of themselves that makes them strong enough to both protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy and diseases, plus enable them with the strength to say "No". We are failing our sons by not teaching them about sex not only from the male perspective of self gratification, but also teaching them about sex from the female perspective, along with the lessons of practicing safe sex. Sex is not just a physical act. It involves emotions and sometimes unforeseen and life changing repercussions that people of all ages need to consider, not just our children. Males and females each need to be taught to consider both sides of the subject, from the other person's perspective.
Sex As A Power Play and the Double Standard Issue
Many times, sex is used as a form of control in a relationship. That is why, when someone is sexually assaulted or raped, it is considered a violent crime involving the feeling of power the rapist feels over the victim instead of it being the act of sex itself that is what the perpetrator is seeking. They crave the feeling of power, control and terror they can instill in the victim. Sex is also used as a bargaining tool, a wedge, and even a form of punishment when it is withheld in a relationship. We are told many times that "If they don't get it at home, they will get it somewhere else". How sad. There are so many times we DON'T hear about the couple who for possibly health reasons, mutual consent or just the advent of age, have decided to no longer have an active sexual relationship, but don't stray outside the relationship. We don't hear about those people, because it's just not as enticing to hear about as the husband or wife who sought sex outside the relationship for some reason they justify to themselves.
Then we have the "double standard" still firmly in place in our society, where males that have a lot of sexual conquests are called "studs", etc., but a woman who behaves in this way is considered a "slut" and other degrading terms. Something about this picture is wrong. Why is a man cheered on, while a woman is degraded and judged harshly for the same behavior? I don't admire a man that has a lot of casual sex. It causes me to think that he doesn't have a healthy respect for women or himself. Casual, consensual sex between two consenting adults is fine, I suppose, as long as each realize the boundaries of the relationship, then no problem. The problems start when one or the other become more emotionally attached, and are being taken advantage of. At least be mature and thoughtful enough, male or female, to let the other person know how you truly feel. No one likes the feeling of being used or taken advantage of.
Anyway, this is really about teenage pregnancies, and the astonishing fact that both males and females are not being more responsible with their lives. Perhaps if more parents were open to discussing ALL the consequences of sex, and let their children know they can feel comfortable coming to them about sex without being yelled at, or feeling like they are disappointing their parents, the situation might improve. Admitting to your parent that you are a sexually active teen is not easy, but neither is an unplanned pregnancy, or God forbid, contracting an STD. Especially one that can kill you such as AIDS. Others can render you infertile so that you might never have children, or cause long term problems such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, which caused me to have to have a full hysterectomy at 26.
Be as open and informative with your children as they are ready for, and try to educate yourself on healthy ways of teaching them ALL of the different aspects of having sex. Remind them how easy it is to confuse sex with actual love. And by all means, teach them to take the reins of responsibility in their own hands and protect themselves.