it’s a fact: teen sex doesn’t always end in disaster

If you listen to a lot of the chatter out there, it would seem as if sexually active teens were the equivalent to lighted sticks of dynamite: disasters waiting to happen (as illustrated by Gossip Girl).

There are a few reasons people feel this way:

One is the moral belief that sex should only happen between a married man and woman. This logic holds that since most teens aren’t married, they shouldn’t be having sex.

Another is that people worry about teens’ emotional states. They fear that teens are too immature to handle sex and will be devastated when things don’t go as they planned.

Then there are serious health concerns. Teen pregnancy and the risk of contracting an STD are often cited as good reasons to urge teens not to have sex.

Now I can’t speak to the first issue. Everyone’s morals are different and I don’t want to try to change someone else’s beliefs just because I don’t share them. I do, however, have some ideas about the other two points.

When it comes to emotions, it’s true that a lot of teens get messed up when sex doesn’t turn out the way they thought it would. Or if a relationship doesn’t materialize after sex, or ends because of it.

However, this view lumps all teens together and doesn’t see them as individuals. Teens who feel better about themselves and have high self esteem are more likely to make good choices about sex than teens who don’t.

One example is my friend Iris. Iris was close with her parents, felt good about herself and first had sex at sixteen. The guy was Mike, her boyfriend of a year. He was in her grade and they were crazy about each other (and actually got married after a ten year break up!). Iris gushed about the experience at the time saying, “It was so great. It didn’t hurt at all and I even had an orgasm!”

Years later she told me that she was really happy to have become sexually active when she did. “Being with Mike showed me how good sex could be and that I should expect guys to be considerate,  fun and creative in bed."

So what about the disease and pregnancy issue? We all know how bleak the American stats are on this front. So wouldn’t it be best if teens never had sex? 

For the most part, both pregnancy and STDs are preventable. Kids who have access to condoms, birth control and health care are going to face these issue a lot less frequently than those who don’t. And if they do end up in a bad spot? Well, a teen who can see a doctor easily will sure be able to deal with the situation better than a kid who can’t.

Really, many of the crises related to young people, STDs and pregnancy, are the result of problems with the American health care and sex education systems, and not due to problems inherent to teen sex.

Sex sure isn’t the right choice for all teens. But it also isn’t always the wrong one and it seems silly to pretend that all sexual experiences between teens will be disastrous.

Of course, if you are thinking about having sex, the more you know about the subject, the better. One good way to make your decision is to go through a checklist like the one Scarleteen created. Because the more prepared you are, and the more thought you’ve given your decision, the more likely you are to have a positive, safe and healthy experience. And that’s something everyone who is sexually active deserves.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree?


Posted in: Health, Sex & Relationships, The State of Sex Ed
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  • age doesnt equal mat

    I was so happy to read this article! I am with my bf of 4 months and we really do love each other.
    Picture this…someone who loves me for my personality, my morals, my attitude to life…who also loves the way I look and my body, even when I insist on my many flaws…
    imagine a guy who can read your emotions even when you know you've been a great actress and no one should see you're upset, still he does; who calls "just coz" and isn't ashamed to hug or kiss you in front of his friends…
    Think of a person who knows all your secrets, your fears, your dreams…
    someone who sends chills around your body whenever he touches you, sexually or otherwise…
    yep thats my relationship with my boyfriend…pretty great huh??
    but key in our ages and everything changes…we're 15 and i think the only reason we've put off sex is because there is no support from our schools or family.
    Honestly what is wrong with us having sex?
    We've agreed that it would only happen with birth control pills and a condom, with lots of prior preparation to be sure of no pregnancy scares…but society (and our parents…although the havent said that in so many words) think that we are too young!…and this makes aqquiring the pill and condoms extremely difficult.
    Really, with ensuring I can't get pregnant with protection and as we are both virgins and not carrying diseases, what harm can come of sex? I mean we are both prepared emotionally…
    People really need to reconsider what is so offensive in two young people sharing a loving and intimate experience and should be more supportive with helping educate about protection and to help couples like us instigate safe sex…

  • age doesnt equal maturity

    I was so happy to read this article! I am with my bf of 4 months and we really do love each other.
    Picture this…someone who loves me for my personality, my morals, my attitude to life…who also loves the way I look and my body, even when I insist on my many flaws…
    imagine a guy who can read your emotions even when you know you’ve been a great actress and no one should see you’re upset, still he does; who calls “just coz” and isn’t ashamed to hug or kiss you in front of his friends…
    Think of a person who knows all your secrets, your fears, your dreams…
    someone who sends chills around your body whenever he touches you, sexually or otherwise…
    yep thats my relationship with my boyfriend…pretty great huh??
    but key in our ages and everything changes…we’re 15 and i think the only reason we’ve put off sex is because there is no support from our schools or family.
    Honestly what is wrong with us having sex?
    We’ve agreed that it would only happen with birth control pills and a condom, with lots of prior preparation to be sure of no pregnancy scares…but society (and our parents…although the havent said that in so many words) think that we are too young!…and this makes aqquiring the pill and condoms extremely difficult.
    Really, with ensuring I can’t get pregnant with protection and as we are both virgins and not carrying diseases, what harm can come of sex? I mean we are both prepared emotionally…
    People really need to reconsider what is so offensive in two young people sharing a loving and intimate experience and should be more supportive with helping educate about protection and to help couples like us instigate safe sex…

  • ashmarie333

    I had sex for the first time when i was 14, i'll be 16 soon and i'm still with the guy and i don't regret it a bit. I think teen sex is fine if your not drunk, high, etc. and if you always protect yourself.

  • makenzie

    ehhhh….i cant say much because ALL of my beleifs and opinions are about my values and religion n i dont want to like hurt anyone but i do want to say that your friend iris errr sumtin [[srry idk how to spell it n im being lazy n not looking up at it]] doesnt seem like she having sex for the right reason. it shouldnt matter how creative he is….it should matter what his intensions are n what yours are. Im srry but im juss gonna go into religion stuff because its sumthin i wanna say n im srry if it affends you n u can stop reading it if u dont like what i have too say..but anyways God didnt make sex soo that we can feel good he made it so we can reproduce and show our partners how much we care about them n to show them that we care about them that much that we are giving up a gift thats only been givin too them n no one else…having sex w/ more then one guy [[in my opinion]] its like giving your bofrien sumthin that was really special to him when you already gave it tooo your ex. thats juss my opinion. Im not sayin its wrong or right and that you have too listen to what i have too say but i juss wanted to say that. n i hope that if you guys do have sex before marriage that it all works out // :]
    and that im praying it does
    love,
    makenzie

  • becca

    this is really good artical. i agree with it . and im only 14 , and its not like i agree with everything i hear. im still a virgin but im just waiting for the right person. and if it happens it happens , and if it doesnt it doesnt. but i would like to be knowledgeable about sex before i get married if you know what i meanss

  • rachel

    this article was so relieving from all the other things you see in news about teen sex.
    i very strongly agree with everything here.
    i lost it when i was 15 to my boyfriend of a year. were still together, and we still have great sex. its been almost 3 years, btw.

  • Gina

    I lost my virginity when i was 12 to a guy who wasnt even my bf one night when i was drunk. Now… If i had a chance do do it over again i would change it but it didnt affect me emotionally. Sex has never been one of those things to me and i have never had a relationship go bad because of it or where i felt bad because of it. I definitly belive that not everyone is a statistic but not everyone has just ONE WAY that is right. Right or wrong people have the right to choose and it is good to explain why they shouldnt but… it is even better to inform them of risks if they arnt protected. I definitly agree with this article.

  • Jayjay

    I've been going out with my boyfriend for 6months and everyone finds it strange becos he's 15 and i'm 13. although i'm not redi for sex yet, i would definately give it 2 him, becos wen u find the rite person, it shud feel rite

  • hello

    i lost my virginity to my boyfriend last weekend, it was great. i have no regrets and im really happy. i am 16 and him 19. I've learnt alot from my friends and such. i have been going to third base with my previous boyfriend and felt perfectly comfortable with myself and sex, and made my decision based upon experience.
    the best advice ive ever recieved on the topic is 'Dont have sex until YOU really want to.'

  • krista

    this article basically sums everything up. you should know what you're getting into and be responsible about it. but its not always a disaster 🙂

  • Selo

    I have to agree with this 100% in that age does not equal maturity. I think I myself am the best example of this that I can think of – I have the most wonderful boyfriend in the world, and we've been going strong for over a year, even if it is long-distance. We're starting to get sexual and we are both perfectly comfortable with it. It feels right, and I would have no problem giving my virginity to him. He feels the same, but we're not rushing, and we care about each other and are doing it to be closer and please each other. I am 100% sure of this.
    This would sound all rosey to most people until they learn that I'm 14 and he's 15. Age just gets in the way – teen sex doesn't always spell tragedy for those involved, and I hate the adults who judge it as such. If they are not in teenagers' heads, they have NO say in what's best for them.

  • Blake

    I agree, I mean teens in Europe have much more sex than here but the teen pregnancy and STD infection rates are much lower as they get better sex ed and easier access to reproductive health.

  • gumbs

    I agree that teens should know what they are getting into. I myself started having sex when I was 17, but I was also one of the last people in my group of friends to have sex. I did not feel pressured at all by them, they actually made me wait for quite some time.
    I agree with what alexia said about it, but saying that sex does not mean love, yes it cannot create love. However, it can be a way to show someone how much you do love them, not necessarily just by having intercourse but by pleasuring them and having them cum.

  • gumbs

    I agree that teens should know what they are getting into. I myself started having sex when I was 17, but I was also one of the last people in my group of friends to have sex. I did not feel pressured at all by them, they actually made me wait for quite some time.
    I agree with what alexia said about it, but saying that sex does not mean love, yes it cannot create love. However, it can be a way to show someone how much you do love them, not necessarily just by having intercourse but by pleasuring them and having them cum.

  • Alexia

    Agree. I think that the more teens know, they can make an educated decision about the matter. If they are practicing safe sex with condoms and/or birthcontrol, then there is really nothing wrong with it, so long as the teen realizes that sex doesnt mean love, and sex does NOT mean a relationship. Know the difference between love and lust, and KNOW the sexual history of the person you are having sex with beforehand.

  • Roxanne

    Strongly agree.