Sex and Pregnancy among Teenagers
At forty two, Stella is still a single mother of two; a boy and a girl aged 18 and 15 years respectively. They were both in college and Stella felt that she had played her role as a parent in bringing up her children and educating them single handedly. She had great expectations in her children and especially the daughter who was very bright in school. This did not go far before she noticed some abnormal physical changes in her daughter; she had developed a rather unusual big belly and Stella avoided thoughts that her daughter could be pregnant. No, not at this tender age!
The worst and most shocking news struck her like lightning; her daughter was pregnant and as if that was not enough, her own son was responsible! What might have brought the two too close to an extent of having sexual affairs that brought this disgrace? Sex and pregnancy are not uncommon terms among the teens and especially in this generation where sex starts too early in the teens’ lives. Smink & Schargel (2004) in their book, Helping students graduate: a strategic approach to dropout prevention, observe that “Teenagers are having sex younger than before.
This essay seeks to explore sex and pregnancy among teenagers and the main causes. Sex and teenage pregnancies Teenage sex or pregnancy refers to involvement in sexual activities and hence pregnancy before attaining the legal adulthood. Studies have shown that 80 percent of pregnancies in adolescents are unwanted (Health Ezine, 2009). Further statistics show that 56% and 73% young women and men respectively today have sexual intercourse before the age of 18 as compared to 35% and 55% of the 1970s.
Further statistics show that it is only one out of five people who does not engage in sex before attaining age 20 (Christensen & Rosen, 1996). The two concepts, teen sex and pregnancy are related as one is as a result of the other; teenage girls become pregnant as a result of sexual intercourse. It does not matter whether the sexual activity was voluntary or not; the fact remains that a sexual contact was involved. Teenage sex and pregnancies normally happen outside marriage boundaries especially in developed countries; for developing countries like India, early marriages are a common thing.
Teenage pregnancies leave the society stigmatized and for this reason there is an urgent call for people to uncover the causes, with an effort of saving the teenagers from drowning in the fierce river of teenage sex and pregnancies (AyurvedicCure, 2008). Causes of teenage sex and pregnancies in today’s society Teens find themselves entangled in situations that can result to teenage sex and pregnancies. Lack of guidance from parents, as demonstrated in the case above, can lead to teenage sex and pregnancies.
Most parents avoid talking about sex with their children. In most cases, they give false information when asked about sex by their children and by any means try to discourage them from engaging in sex-related discussions. In addition, some mothers might have also been victims of teenage pregnancies and were also not well informed on sex issues. If they are to talk to their children about sex, the children may wonder why they their mother fell in the trap (Health Ezine, 2009). Family structure is also a contributor of teen sex and resulting pregnancies.
Children from single families are more likely to have sex than those with both parents, as studies have shown, regardless of their financial background (Zuckermann, 2010). In relation to parental guidance, safe sex education has been looked down upon by both schools and parents. Teens do not know how to handle peers who continuously pressurize them into sex before they attain maturity. Most of them do not even have the basic facts about sexuality. They do not know how to say no to sex (Miller, 2006).
Many of the teenagers are too embarrassed to source for information about safe sex. Lack of safe sex education is one of the root causes of teen sex and pregnancies (Health Ezine, 2009). Media influence could result to teenage sex and hence pregnancies. Many teens are living in an era of high technology. Magazines, music and TVs are channels of transmitting sex- related messages; some of them implying that sex outside marriage is not a crime and is acceptable. Teens therefore are out to engage in sex as an ‘acceptable’ behavior.
Furthermore, the media says that a teen engaging in such is not unusually (OPPapers, 2010). Coffey (2008) on the, Study: sex on TV linked to teen pregnancies, gives a report on the interviews conducted about the teens’ favorite programmers on TV. The teens highlighted 23 TV shows that they liked watching among them “Sex and the City,” “Friends,” and “That ‘70s Show,” all of which entails sex. Final analysis showed that the more the teens watched sexual content on the screens, the more they were likely to indulge in sexual activities.
Many tried a repeat of what they had seen and the consequences are teenage pregnancies (Coffey, 2008). Another contributing factor of teenage sex and pregnancy is peer pressure. The influence from peers leads teens to engage in sexual acts. This can even start very early at the age of 12. Basing on research that was conducted among the teens, 29% were pushed to sexual affairs. Another 33% admitted that they felt sexual urges and this showed that they were sexually active (Health Ezine, 2009). The other biggest cause of teenage sex and pregnancies nowadays is trust.
An article by OPPapers entitled, what causes teen pregnancies, have it that “The issue is not about the lack of trust but instead too much trust. Many teenage girls tend to trust their boyfriends/sexual partners way too much. ” They can therefore do anything including sex as they hold the belief that their trust cannot be broken and this ofcourse leaves them miserably pregnant. A young girl, 18 years was interviewed and she admitted having sexual relationships with her boyfriend after only four months of their relationship because of trust.
She ended up pregnant (OPPapers, 2010). Rape, a sexual assault, could also result in teenage sex and pregnancies. Today rape knows no bounds; both boys and girls are raped by either one person or a multiple of them. Age is not respected either and the teenage boys and girls find themselves victims of the assault (AyurvedicCure, 2008). Young girls can also, fall prey of older men’s exploitation. There is a high possibility of them getting pregnant before mature womanhood is attained (Health Ezine, 2009).
Poverty may lead young girls to indulge in sexual activities at least to get their basic needs. Harassed by nature, they turn to sex as a consolation to their problems and end up impregnated by merciless men (Health Ezine, 2009. Teenage sex and pregnancies could also rise as a result of “rotten” traditions. There are some people that up to now are strongly rooted in their cultures. In India for example, childhood marriages are practiced as rituals and what results is the poor teens being subjected to sex and then pregnancies (AyurvedicCure, 2008).
In most cases, the girl child is mostly affected by teenage sex as she can become pregnant. In pregnancy, the girl is left with fear of losing her dignity and may not even disclose it to anyone, leave alone the one responsible. She suffers psychologically and this can result to further problems such as drug and substance abuse. Abortion in most cases is the girls’ solution to their problems, but which in many countries is an illegal activity (AyurvedicCure, 2008). Conclusion Teenage sex and pregnancy is becoming a growing problem worldwide.
The factors leading to teenage sex are accelerated by peoples’ behaviors, negative view of young girls as objects of sex, use of sex-related issues to advertise nearly everything. Even news items are at times designed in a ‘sexy’ manner. This cannot leave the youth uncontaminated. People cannot hide their shocked faces about the shooting number of sexually active teens while in the real sense they are major cause. The causes must be addressed and acknowledgement that a lot has not been fully exhausted on the teenage sex and pregnancy causes.