Risks of Teen sex
The World Health Organisation considers adolescence as the period from ages 10-19 years. In simple terms it is the process of developing from a child into an adult. A teenager by strict definition is one aged from 13-19 years.
In this article the words youngsters and adolescents are used loosely as synonyms of teenagers and not in their strict definitions. Recently, there has been a lot of discussion with regards to the sexuality of adolescents or teenagers globally. This article seeks to shed light on some of the health consequences of teenage or adolescent sex so that decisions can be made from an adequately informed perspective. Teenage sex and teenage pregnancy are both health and social problems and it is difficult to discuss the health problems without referring to the social and emotional problems. A friend once said something regarding sexual behaviour that I thought was quite wise; “If we lived the possible consequences of our actions in our minds before making a decision, we would probably make the right decisions most of the time”.
Illicit sex and early sexual activities among teenagers are growing issues in adolescent development. According to both the global survey of family growth and the youth risk behaviour survey, teenagers are engaging in sexual activities at earlier ages. Early maturing teens are more likely to engage in quick sexual activities than later maturing ones. They confront their emerging sexuality at younger ages than their peers do, and are more likely to be pursued by older peers in social setting because they appear physically older than their chronological age.
Teen age most times is seen (for both male and female) as a time to engage in sexual intimacy. As girls enter adolescence, they begin to grow into womanhood and see images that make them view themselves, in part, within the media as sexualized objects. On the hand, boys are pressured to exhibit their manhood through sexual conquests.
Risk of sexual transmitted diseases, cervical cancer, HIV, and risks associated with teenage pregnancy are some of the health implications of early sexual experimentation.
There is also emotional risk involved but people often argue this fact. Youngsters who have sex are at risk for emotional problems. Researches have shown that early sexual experimentations and emotional problems such as depression are interrelated especially among girls. The so-called phenomenon of “heart break” after a break-up is worse in those that have indulged in a sexual relationship than in those that have not. This however, may delay their early pursuit in life.
The adverse social outcomes of adolescent sex include stigmatisation by peers and adults, pregnancy, possible interruption of education and possible socio-economic deprivation. A teenage mother has a 25 percent chance of another teenage pregnancy and a higher risk of multiple sexual partners. They are also at higher risk of sexual abuse, domestic violence, incest, homelessness, vulnerability to criminal activity, child neglect and forced adoption. Sadly the offspring of teenage parents are prone to lower educational achievement, criminal activity, abuse, behavioural problems and becoming teenage parents themselves. It has also been noted that the siblings of teenage parents are also prone to teenage sexual indulgence
From a public health perspective, prevention is always better than cure. Necessary and appropriate support should always be available to all youths including those who may have already indulged willingly or against their will.
In conclusion, all sectors including education, the church, family, health etc should work together in coming up with comprehensive approaches to helping our younger generation in this regard. These should include both preventive and the appropriate supportive aspects for those who may have already indulged. We each have needed another chance at one point or another in this journey of life.
Thank you so much for reading. I hope you find this article helpful. Let us always make an informed healthy decision.