Saturday, May 7, 2011

Teen Angst

Granted, I've been around the block a few times, but I have a good memory.  And I remember being a teen.  And dating.  Back then the pressure was to stay a virgin until you married.  Or at least pretend you were a virgin, because you were considered a whore, damaged goods, less than desirable, if you weren't.  That being said, the pressure to have sex was great, nigh near impossible.  At times it seemed that every date with a new guy was going to be a wrestling match.  It seems that all boys were animals.


The world has turned on its head.  Now, being a virgin implies you're damaged--what's wrong with you?  How come no one wants you?  It's actually a disgrace to be a virgin.


I put a lot of the change of attitudes on "Hollywood."  I don't think Hollywood mimics the culture; I think Hollywood shapes the culture.  Magazines, books, now the net, constantly drive sex into our minds.  And bringing up teens in this culture is difficult to shield them from this influence.


And what doesn't help are state funded programs aimed to supposedly help teens with coping in our sex saturated culture.  I'm talking about the Maria Talks website, put out by Boston's AIDS Action Group.  What strikes me first, is the assumption that all, everyone, everybody, all in all, high and low, throughout, all round...have sex.  I expected (foolish ?) that a group dedicated to health and addressing teens would talk about the value of NOT jumping into sex.  NOooooo, they just assume that all, everyone, everybody, all in all, high and low, throughout, all round...are having sex.


They blew it.  Here was the chance to stand up to the Hollywood culture.  Here was the opportunity to explain that sex is something special.  It's not part of the dating relationship. That kids should think for themselves and stand up to the cultural influences.  That teens don't have to have sex.  It's not cool.  It's just following "Hollywood."  Teach teens to think for themselves.


Abstinence is not a dirty word.  It's the only 100% form of protection from STI and HIV.  BTW, Maria Talks advertises that "condoms are the only form of birth control that protect against STI and HIV."  Now that's debatable.  According to the Medical Institute's newsletter:


Condom breakage and slippage is estimated to occur 1-4% of the time. This is known as method failure.  By far the most extensive research on condom effectiveness has been done for HIV. A number of authors have performed meta-analyses (summaries) of other studies. These meta-analyses show that with 100% consistent condom use, condoms reduce the risk of HIV transmission by about 85%. Condom effectiveness against transmission of bacterial diseases like gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis is significantly lower than for HIV. Conclusive evidence is lacking for condom effectiveness against transmission of several other specific STIs, such as HPV and trichomoniasis, which each affect over 5 million people annually. Finally effectiveness is seriously limited for the many STIs which are transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, since condoms do not cover all the areas of the body which may be the source of transmission.

Actually, I hate quoting statistics because you can always find, or tweek, the numbers to fit your argument.  But I know that blanket statements like "condoms are the only form of birth control that protect...., are false.  Common sense tells you otherwise. 

I just feel that it's such a shame that the teens nowadays are put under such pressure to conform to the culture,  to have to have sex, to walk that walk...  

C'mon parents.  It's up to you.  Teach your children what's right.  Teach them to think and not just follow the crowd.  That's what's right.  What's right is right!


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