Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Teens and Sex

"Study Finds 1 in 4 US Teens Has an STD

By LINDSEY TANNER | AP Medical Writer"

Now THAT is a disturbing statistic, if it is accurate. What is even more disturbing is the establishment's so-called solution to the problem. Of course, you guessed it - more education programs. The teens just aren't being educated enough. Supposedly, sex is still a taboo subject. I kid you not.

"At least one in four teenage American girls has a sexually transmitted disease, suggests a first-of-its-kind federal study that startled some adolescent-health experts.
Some doctors said the numbers might be a reflection of both abstinence-only sex education and teens' own sense of invulnerabilty. Because some sexually transmitted infections can cause infertility and cancer, U.S. health officials called for better screening, vaccination and prevention.

Only about half of the girls in the study acknowledged having sex. Some teens define sex as only intercourse, yet other types of intimate behavior including oral sex can spread some diseases.

Among those who admitted having sex, the rate was even more disturbing -- 40 percent had an STD.

'This is pretty shocking,' said Dr. Elizabeth Alderman, an adolescent medicine specialist at Montefiore Medical Center's Children's Hospital in New York.

'To talk about abstinence is not a bad thing,' but teen girls -- and boys too -- need to be informed about how to protect themselves if they do have sex, Alderman said.
'Those numbers are certainly alarming,' said sex education expert Nora Gelperin, who works with a teen-written Web site called sexetc.org. She said they reflect 'the sad state of sex education in our country...'"

..."'Sexuality is still a very taboo subject in our society,' she said. 'Teens tell us that they can't make decisions in the dark and that adults aren't properly preparing them to make responsible decisions.'

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the study shows that 'the national policy of promoting abstinence-only programs is a $1.5 billion failure, and teenage girls are paying the real price.'"

I don't know what teenagers she is talking to, but the ones that I have known and spoken to for the past 10 years know more about sex than I do. The problem, in my opinion, is not that they don't know enough - it's that they are very immature and think of the whole subject through TV eyes. Whatever drivel is on TV that depicts physically attractive young people becoming emotionally involved and, as an immediate result, having sex - that is what they base their truth upon. The music they listen to, the movies and TV they watch - and the commercials that tell them what they should want and how to dress, act and behave; and their peer group. This is the arena from which teens get their information.

They also think of their own friends and peers as their family, often more so than their own actual family. Since they feel this way, they don't associate having to use "protection" with those they trust and love. I also think they romanticize sex and/or love. Who wants to stop in the heat of passion and put on a condom, when:
a. one is in love, and,
b. one doesn't want to spoil the moment or the sensation

Abstinence today just isn't an option to the majority of teens. You know the old axiom - "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink"; well, you can teach the teenager about sex until hell freezes over, but you can't make him take it seriously or act upon the information.

Last, but not least, the condom and other methods of contraception are no true failsafe against venereal diseases. The condom is such a poor protection, and yet it is touted as the veritable wall of safety between the sex organs and possible disease. If it doesn't prevent pregnancy very well, what makes people think it protects against STD's?

And of course, there are other types of sex that don't involve coitus. Those sexual activities are fraught with STD possibilities, and condoms can't even be part of the equation.

Please note who is to blame. According to the teens, it's their parent's and other authority figures' fault for not preparing them to make good decisions. At least we can all breath easy - it's not the teen's fault. It's never their fault. According to Planned Parenthood and others, it's the fault of those who teach abstinence (read "Christians" here). Correct me if I'm wrong, but abstinence hasn't been a major player in sex education for many years. It's all about condoms, "responsible" sex, using "protection" and getting tested periodically (which prevents nothing and is more like barring the gate after the horses escape).

Reading further, one finds out that the 4 diseases that were most prevalent were Genital Herpes, Chlamydia, Human Papilloma Virus and Trichomoniasis. AIDS isn't even mentioned, but I bet that is on the rise, also.

In any case, this is not shocking news, but it is very saddening. Just 60 years ago, sex before marriage was Just Not Done - and if it was, marriage ensued quickly. My, how things have changed.

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