Sexuality is one of the most important factors in one person's life. It comes when a person is a teenager, and it comes all at once. The bad part is that, with this new factor in a person's life, that person decides whether or not he or she can have sex. And to be truthful, it's not really that good. Teenage sex is detrimental to a person's health, both mentally and physically; therefore, America's society needs to focus on abstinence until age 18.
Teens go through many changes, including physical changes; however, some teens may be physically ready for sexual intercourse than others. These physical changes are called puberty, which affects girls differently than boys. In girls, the pituitary gland creates hormones which create estrogen; in guys, testosterone is created. Puberty doesn't occur until around ages eight to thirteen for girls and ten to fifteen for guys. The different changes that a teenager goes through will tell if they are physically ready. Both sexes grow taller, but guys also have body changes such as their shoulders widening, a more muscular body shape, voice deepens, lengthening and widening of the penis, and enlargement of the testes. In girls, they get a curvier shape, breast development, weight gain, and their first menstruation period. Those are just a few physical changes a teenager goes through, but those are not the only changes (Dowshen NP).
There are more changes, especially emotional changes, to know if a teen is really ready for sex. Through puberty, a teenager will feel emotions they previously had never really felt before. A teenager may feel sensitive about his or her own body. They may feel overly sensitive or become easily upset; they may lose their tempers more often than others. Teens may have confusing feelings about sex. They may feel funny or weird when they talk about it. Other teens can talk about it freely without any worries (Dowshen NP). Many teens are physically ready before they are emotionally ready, but the emotional readiness is much more important (Ponton 263).
One of the most important physical consequences of teen sex is STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). Four million teens contract an STD each year (Friedman 761). Sexual intercourse of any type - vaginal, anal, or oral - can end up transmitting a disease (Ponton 263). Having sex at a young age, having a lot of sexual partners, and having unprotected sex are some factors that will increase a teen's chances of getting an STD (Vranken NP). It's also good to know some of the side effects and other information of STDs. Some have few symptoms, like Chlamydia, and some, such as gonorrhea, syphilis, and HPV, have worse. There are STDs that can be cured, such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea, but there are also some STDs that cannot, like herpes and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) which leads to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) (Homeier NP). Although it is one of the most important physical consequences, there is one other one that could change your life even more.
Another big consequence of having sex is pregnancy. A third of young U.S. girls become pregnant before age 20. 80% of them are unmarried (Friedman 763). The U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates in the world ("Teen Pregnancy" NP). One big way that teen girls end their pregnancy is by abortion. Nearly 4 in 10 teen pregnancies end in abortion. However, since 1980, abortion rates among teens have decreased (Ponton 195). Even though a baby is a beautiful thing to happen to a family, it could also be disastrous.
There are so many responsibilities to parenting. When a teenager becomes a parent, they become responsible for the child physically, emotionally, and financially for the rest of their lives. Sometimes, they'll have it all figured out, and other times, they're worried and stressed. A teen needs a family to be stable. Teen pregnancies can bring a lot of emotional scars. It'll be a while for a teenager that he or she is a mother or father. No matter how good of a relationship the mother and father had, the father will probably leave. Though some may take on the responsibilities as a teen parent, there is still adoption, which many people overlook ("Teen Pregnancy" NP).
So what are the schools really teaching kids, that we're making these statistics? Only 35% of public school districts teach about abstinence until marriage (Streisand NP). However, virginity pledgers have the same rate of STDs as non-virginity pledgers (Friedman 767). 75% of parents want schools teaching about abstinence, birth control, abortion, how to use condoms, pressures to having sex, and emotional consequences. Students who get comprehensive sex education don't have sex earlier or more often and use safe sex more frequently. 51% of public schools teach abstinence, contraception, chastity and STDs, whereas 14% teach everything mentioned above, along with abortion, homosexuality, premarital sex, oral and anal sex, and masturbation. 88% of middle and high schoolers who pledge to stay virgins until marriage end up having premarital sex anyway (Streisand NP). There is still much more that could be taught to our kids so that they could make better choices.
So there you have it. At age 23, this doesn't seem really too bad, but when a 13-year-old is doing this, it is a very bad sign. The worst part is, that teenager might not even have a lot of knowledge about sex and the consequences, or if he or she is even ready to be doing it. Betsy Streisand of the U.S. and World Report states, "Teens given a good education can make good choices. If they are denied the education, they can't." (NP) This is absolutely true. The more the schools were to give out information, the less the amount of teens to make the bad decisions. But there would always be a few who bend the rules a bit. Just doing it so they can fit it and be cool, but really, what teenager carrying an eleven-month-old baby is cool?