Saturday, December 11, 2004

 

Reading Between The Lines Of A Teen Sex Study:

From today's WaPo ("free" registration required; pusbuckets):

American teenagers are waiting longer before first engaging in sexual intercourse, and an overwhelming majority of those who are sexually active report using contraception, according to a comprehensive, well-respected government survey released yesterday.

The report examining youth behavior found that more young men in particular have postponed sex -- 46 percent were sexually active in 2002, compared with 55 percent in 1995 -- and that 91 percent of those who had sex in the previous three months used contraception.
This tells me that 54 percent of young men are now painfully desperate for sex.

Oh, and that nearly 91 percent of teens are bald-faced liars.

With the exception of 18- and 19-year-old girls, teenagers of both sexes showed significant declines in early sexual activity. Older girls and African American girls were the only groups that did not show a drop in sexual activity.
Hmmm. . . older girls are easy; I must make a note of that.

At the same time, nearly 10 percent of young women described their first sexual encounter as "non-voluntary."
But I want to know the percentage of young men. Myrtle "Two-Tons Of Great Personality" Spakoniwicz was loved by her parents, but no high school boy want to do what she wanted to do, that's for sure. How is *that* "voluntary?"

Anyways, I guess the study is good news.

I have no problems with emphasizing contraception and abstinence at the same time, but I do think it's ridiculous to have to assume that the school is the place you teach this sort of thing. Where are the parents in all this? It's *their* responsibility.

Like many areas of government, if the government does it for you, you will be less willing (or even able) to do it for yourself. Problem is, the government-- or in this case, the schools-- design their efforts for the lowest common denominator, and *not* your son or daughter.

Would you like to know the best way for a teenager to avoid getting pregnant or having a sexually-transmitted disease? Being a major-league dork. Or a "mathlete." Or have pizza face. Or smell like cabbage.

Okay, I'm sure then you just isolate the behavior, and confine all the pre-marital to clumsy experimentation after the Chess Club meeting, instead of drunken debauchery under the bleachers with Sally Mae Cheerleader.

Damn, I've always wanted to date a cheerleader.

Oops, sorry, lost my train of thought for a moment there. Moving on.

Do you want another solution? How about emotional maturity?

If you teach abstinence and contraception to a kid who thinks that every love is forever and that every boy or girl they meet really loves them and they would never harm them, then you've simply wasted your breath. You've built yourself a big house on a foundation of sand.

But if you teach your kids emotional maturity and responsibility, guess what? The abstinence and contraception bits will naturally follow. AND, you get yourself a better, happier child as a bonus.

The best prevention against stupidity is value. If you value something, you don't want to risk losing it, which means you think twice before doing something stupid. Teaching children that they have things to value in their lives-- their bodies, their education, their friends, their family, their church, their future, etc., and you can do a lot of good.

However, such a process is a life-long thing. It's not something you can teach your children in a single instance of "The Talk." A thousand decisions, a thousand lessons, day in and day out, until the kid knows stupidity when they see it.

And, it's also something that kids can't learn in fifth period alone.

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