By Amber N. Anderson
The ‘birds and the bees’ talk is usually the most uncomfortable conversation that parents have with their teens. It normally isn’t that uncomfortable for males, it nine times out ten is a more honest and open conversation that their father or father figure haves with them. From my experience as a young woman when the topic of sex is brought up, I have always been told that all I need to know is to not have sex until I’m married and I won't have any problems.
Sometimes the topic of sex is even avoided for both sexes because a lot of adults simply feel that teens in high school should not be participating in sexual intercourse no matter the gender. The reality is that teens are having sex, according to Advocates for Youth, in the United States, 46 percent of all high school age students, and 62 percent of high school seniors, have had sexual intercourse; almost nine million teens have already had sex.
The topic of sex is one that needs to be discussed, when adults or parents fail to educate teens on sexual health they then leave the door open for them to be forced to figure it out on their own. Teens should be educated on practicing safe sex and STIs (sexually transmitted infections). According to Dosomething.org, Young people, between the ages of 15 to 24, account for 50% of all new STIs, although they represent just 25% of the sexually experienced population.
The approach that parents sometimes take with discussing sex, can make teens feel as if they can’t talk to their parents if they are having sex. When teens have doctor visits and are asked if they are having sexual intercourse, there is a 50% chance they won’t give an honest answer.
They have the fear that their parents will find out and the consequences that may follow. This also results in teens not being able to have access to STI testing, having to sneak around to go take the test, or being unaware if they have contracted an infection.
According to Dosomething.org, “one in four teens contract a sexually transmitted disease every year and less than half of adults age 18 to 44 have never been tested for an STD other than HIV/AIDS.
Sex should not be an uncomfortable conversation, it should be a topic that adults are willingly open to discuss with teens, while also ensuring they feel comfortable and are aware that they have a safe place to ask all the questions that they may have about sex. Having this conversation more often and taking the time out to educate teens on sexual health, will help prevent them from catching STIs if they are made aware of how to properly practice safe sex.
Photo Credit: https://www.nhs.uk/sexualhealthprofessional/Pages/campaign-resources.aspx