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the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

January 24th, 2008 (12:30 am)
thoughtful

current mood: thoughtful

"In a perfect world, no teenager would be having sex. We all know there isn't a 15-year-old alive who is ready emotionally, physically, spiritually, or financially to live with the consequences." -Nancy Keenan, NARAL president*

I find it very hard to decide whether I agree with that or not. I mean, okay, so I know that the statement as it reads is dumb - the statement that there "isn't a 15-year-old alive" who's ready for sex is ridiculous - but I'm thinking of it less on a literal level, and wondering more about generalities. Is it true that there is only a statistically negligible percentage of fifteen-year-olds who are ready for sex at fifteen? Can we make the blanket statement that teenagers should not have sex? Even if I concede the issue on ideological grounds, I'm not sure it has any contact with a reality in which teenagers' sex drives start to run amok when they hit fourteen or fifteen. But my question goes beyond that; I'm honestly not sure that I agree that teenagers are almost inevitably too immature for sex. I should figure out whether I do agree. It would be helpful knowledge in writing the Beth book.

Anyway, I posted it because if y'all want to discuss, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Comment away.

*Quote is a passing remark in this link, leading to a Slate article that I find interesting, thought-provoking, and somewhat shallow and poorly considered in its own approach to the subject. I feel that way about a whole lot of Slate articles.

Comments

Posted by: epilimnion (epilimnion)
Posted at: January 24th, 2008 04:03 pm (UTC)

Well said. And it brings up a facet of sex education and rhetoric that I have always found frustrating. Our culture only wants to address sex in the teenage years when it comes to sex education. Debates rage as to whether providing BC info to teens will encourage them to have sex right then, while completely ignoring the fact that whether they have sex at 16 or wait until they are 26, BC information will be crucial. And guess what, safe sex info isn't beamed into your mind when you reach whatever age your culture deems appropriate.

I've found that the questions you have to answer for yourself before going ahead with a sexual relationship don't really change with age, it's only the answers that (are likely to) change. How will I prevent pregnancy and disease? What will I do about accidental pregnancy? Will sex have a negative effect on this relationship? Will it have a negative effect on my feelings about myself? All those issues are just as relevant at 15 as they are at 35.

I wish we were sex-positive enough to educate teens about sex in such a way that they can make healthy choices throughout their lives, not just just so we can discourage them from having disasterous sex in their teens. Like Archaica and others said, adults can and do make bad sex decisions too, especially if they are uneducated about it. We teach kids lots of things not (only) so they can do well during their childhood, but so that they will do well as adults.

Posted by: Spencer Irving (archaica)
Posted at: January 24th, 2008 04:05 pm (UTC)

Our culture only wants to address sex in the teenage years when it comes to sex education.

Or, worse yet, not educating them, and leaving them entirely unprepared for what their bodies are doing to them, and addressing their sexuality only in the breach (Hi, Grandma!)

Also, "safe sex info isn't beamed into your mind when you reach whatever age your culture deems appropriate" made me laugh. And it's true.

Edited at 2008-01-24 04:06 pm (UTC)

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: January 24th, 2008 06:17 pm (UTC)

Debates rage as to whether providing BC info to teens will encourage them to have sex right then, while completely ignoring the fact that whether they have sex at 16 or wait until they are 26, BC information will be crucial.

That is a really, really good call. I'm going to start asking people who say they don't support birth control classes for teenagers whether they support them for adults, then.

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