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Should teenagers be sexually active?

Updated on June 5, 2011

For the purpose of this article, the teenagers being referred to are those between the ages of 13 and 18.

Should teenagers be sexually active?

If someone were to ask me this question, my initial instinct will be to say, “No, definitely not, they are not ready!” With a bit more depth of thought however, my mind immediately goes into rewind mode, and takes me back to when I was a teenager, enduring what seemed to be a never ending battle between my emotions and the better reasoning of my mind.

We all know that sexual activity during teenage years can result in a lot of problems that often end in regrets. However, many of us often forget that we were once teenagers too, and we once had to deal with raging hormones, body changes, peer pressure and the nagging urge to experience the unknown.

By the age of thirteen most young women will have experienced their first menstrual period. Some young women become aware of what the menstrual period represents ahead of time, while others become knowledgeable after the fact, way after the fact in some cases. What most young women are aware of however, are the changes that take place in their bodies when they reach the age of puberty- breasts begin to develop; pubic hair begins go grow; hips begin to broaden; and mood swings and emotional changes begin to occur. The age of puberty is a bit later for boys. By the age of fifteen, most boys notice their voices getting deeper; hair growth in their pubic area; increased hair growth on their faces, chest, legs and under arms; and penis and testicle growth. As young men progress through the stages of puberty, they also begin to have erections and wet dreams and experience extreme mood swings and strong feelings of anger.

The fact is: the changes that young men and women experience as they go through puberty do not happen in a vacuum. They all take place for a reason- a reason that is no different from most animals that exist in the world. The changes take place to prepare human bodies for procreation, and in the process development of physical features that enhance the appeal of young women and men occur. Young women and men begin to look sexier and feel sexier, and as their urge to respond to the needs of their body increases, they find themselves battling with the decision of whether or not the time is right to respond to these needs.

Constraint is not easy! It was never easy for you, it was never easy for me, it is not easy for present teenagers, and it will never be easy for the future teenagers of the world! So the question becomes- should teenagers exercise sexual restraint or should they not? If I made the rules of the world, I would love teenagers to go out and have a great time and satisfy their sexual urges. However, if I made those rules in the society I live in today, I would have to ask Mother Nature to change some of her rules also- I would ask her to give all young women built in contraceptives until the age of 18, and to remove all sexual diseases from the face of the earth.

Although marriage and sexual activity is accepted from as young as 12 years old in some culturally and geographically isolated regions of the world, most societies today are not in favor of sexual activity amongst teenagers. Societies encourage their teenagers to act in a manner that will yield the most favorable outcomes in life; and in this quest, often place a legal cap on teenage sexual activity.The age of sexual consent in Canada is 16 and all US states set their limits between 16 and 18. The age of consent in the UK is also 16.

The religious belief systems within populations also encourage “no sex before marriage”; and when it comes to marriage, the age bar is placed a bit higher. In the United States, all states but one require that a couple be 18 in order to marry without parental permission. Nebraska sets the age of majority at 19. However, several states will waive this requirement if there is a pregnancy. Presently, teen marriage is not widely accepted in most parts of the world and is decreasing where education is the focus of the population.

Religion is not the only factor that influences the sexual decisions of teenagers. Throughout the world, factors like security, family, peer pressure, arranged marriages, economic and political influence, social advancement, sexual diseases and cultural reasons all play a part in the sexual decisions that teenagers make. As it stands, what is good for one society will not be good for another, as the laws, values and economic conditions of no two societies are the same.

In most educated societies, parents hope that they will never have to deal with a teenage pregnancy in their home- they do not want to deal with the responsibility nor the shame. As a parent, if you fail to accept that your child’s urges are not evil, and that they are perfectly normal, half of your problems will be over. Your responsibility is to make your child aware of the society he or she lives in, to explain the several repercussions of becoming sexually active from a young age, and if possible, to provide them with avenues that will help to relieve their frustrations. Many parents have found that extracurricular activities and involvement in educational groups have helped to keep their kids focused on other activities, and have diverted their preoccupation with sexual thoughts. Of course this does not always work, but has been proven to have helped.

Teenagers sharing some facts about teenage sex

Teenage pregnancies in the US
Teenage pregnancies in the US

So, to finally answer the question “Should teenagers be sexually active?”- Of course they should. If the entire anatomy of their existence yells “YES, YES, YES”, then why should they not? Well, perhaps I should not have written this article, but I did. And in this writing this article, I assumed a responsibility- the responsibility to provide the reader with some insight that may lead to better decisions down the road. There is responsibility attached to all decisions that we make, and most teenagers do not truly understand the meaning of responsibility at the ages of 15 or 16. If teenagers are dependent on their parents to provide their basic needs, it is very unlikely that they are ready to become providers themselves. Not all teenage sexual activities result in pregnancy or lead to the transmission of sexual diseases, but statistics speak for themselves.

The teenage years can be extremely challenging, and it is my belief that teenagers are constantly trying to defy gravity by living in societies that provide the greatest rewards for the best rivals of Mother Nature. Adults should impress upon teenagers that the teenage years are just the initial stages of what life is about….in this life we gain very little without some form of struggle. Teenagers must understand that constraint and discipline are never easy, but are two principles that have proven to produce some of the best rewards that have been offered by life!


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      Justin 4 years ago

      My family had moved out of state during my supposed puberty years and had to make all new friends when I became a teenager. Unfortunately, nobody in the new school wanted to be friends with me and I made many enemies. I started shutting myself away at an early age and could not find the strength to keep facing my peers. By late high school, I finally gave up trying to make friends and completely forgot about ever hoping to find a girlfriend. I began avoiding people. Then it became a phobia. Now I'm 35, working full-time, and I feel empty and lost all the time. Life without love, living without passion is so hard to endure. Nothing has changed for me except whenever I even so much as gaze at a beautiful women, whether she's single or not, I get this super paranoid anxiety attack that leaves me gasping for air, that I have been cast out of society and left behind. I can't even bear to face my parents on this, they just assume the worst out of me based on out-dated parenting skills. Like I'm not supposed to or be allowed near women.

    • gis_r07 profile image

      gis_r07 6 years ago from Boston, MA

      Thanks Jasmine :)

    • profile image

      Jasmin 6 years ago

      agree .


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