Teens are having sex younger and younger, and often parents are kept in the dark. O, The Oprah Magazine reports that 46 percent of teens who have had sex report they haven't told their parents about it. The study also showed that more than 75 percent of teen girls who had had sex did not use condoms! The study's results are proof that the gates of communication between parent and teen on sex need to be opened. You and your teen can't afford your silence due to discomfort and uneasiness in discussing a difficult topic. Get your teen into a conversation as soon as possible and share these very important aspects of sex and its repercussions with your teen.
Repercussion One: Sexually Transmitted Diseases
A study shows that one out of four teenage girls has an STD. Of those who were actually having sex, almost half of the girls had an STD. The numbers reflect the lack of communication and assistance to teens having sex is having a lot of harmful side effects. If the conversation between teens and their parents doesn't open up, teens are going to continue to be at risk. When you talk to your teen, emphasizing abstinence only may not be the best approach with your teen. They could shut down and decide to keep their activities hidden and private. Instead, make sure that you let them know that if they choose to have sex, they have access to condoms and know the repercussions of not using them.
Repercussion Two: Pregnancy
According to the Center for Disease Control, the United States has a teen pregnancy rate that is nine times higher than other developed countries. Pregnancy is the number-one reason that teen girls drop out of high school, and fewer than 2 percent of teen girls who get pregnant in high school will ever earn a college degree. And while many teen girls are under the delusional idea that having a baby with their teen sweetheart will provide impetus for the relationship to work out, the majority of teen fathers do no end up marrying their baby mama and many of them refuse to pay child support. Teen pregnancy is a long road to poverty, stress, and difficult times.
Repercussion three: Emotional Toll
The repercussions of sex are not just related to whether or not condoms are used, STDs are deflected and pregnancy avoided. Studies show that teen sex can have negative impact on the emotions of those involved. A study conducted by Sonya Brady, PhD, and Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, PhD at the University of California, San Francisco, showed that while some teens reported positive emotional outcomes from having sex, others reported the darker side of teen sexuality. Sexually active teens reported feelings of being used, feeling badly about themselves or feeling scared due to sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy scares.
In recent years there has been a lot of discussion about the ways in which sex should be discussed with teens. Based on studies, we can see that the only thing we know for sure is that the avoidance of discussing sex with our teens is definitely harming the situation rather than helping. Make sure that you cover the repercussions of sex, whether physical or emotional. Discuss options rather than dictating choices for your teens. You want them to see you as an ally rather than a person from whom they will keep their secrets.
Karen Alton is a writer for Health Testing Centers. In San Francisco, testing for sexual infection is a responsible, adult action.