Regret, Love, and Teen Sex: The Loss of Great Sex Ed - Page 2
This year’s study from Indiana University’s Center for Sexual Health Promotion, released on October 25th, indicates that nearly 40% of boys fourteen to fifteen years old and almost 50% of girls are already engaging in sexual activity. The numbers double after age seventeen. The study does offer some good news, however – nearly 80% of boys fourteen to seventeen use condoms, although after age seventeen that number decreases dramatically. Clearly, abstinence only education is not deterring sexual activity in teens.
What about the rates of disease and pregnancy in teens? Since 2002, the rate of teen pregnancies has increased nearly 4% after steadily declining throughout the 1970s and 1980s. According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly 50% of new STD cases each year occur in teenagers, and 14% of new HIV cases each year are in children under seventeen years old. The Guttmacher Institute has concluded that these facts can be directly attributed to the rise of abstinence only education, but plenty of others disagree. To me, the cause and effect seem clear, but I readily admit that I’m not an expert.
I do know this, however: thanks to the excellent sexual education I received at a young age, I made a smart decision about when to first have sex. I visited a doctor beforehand, discussed it at great length with my boyfriend of over a year, and I protected myself from pregnancy. I was young, in love, and felt both safe and protected. I was very, very lucky.
Even if to the 42 year old me I seemed amazingly young at the time (and, in all honesty, an age that makes me squirm a bit as the mother of a daughter now), I have no regrets. Unlike Kristy McNichol’s character Angel in Little Darlings; she deeply regretted her choice to go forward with sex, and made the decision to lose the bet rather than celebrate a choice she wished she could take back. In the closing scene of the film, all the girls confess the truth about their experience (or lack of), and reject the idea that having sex would improve their lives.Continued on the next page