Teens and Sex

Sex is every where, or so it seems. When you’re a teenager and your hormones start raging, it seems even more so. There are many different ideas and beliefs about sex from an adult perspective… from total abstinence to anything goes. From the viewpoint of a teen, it must be even more confusing.

Pagan attitudes to tend be more sex positive than most Christian or conservative religions (including Islam and Judaism), but even with that, sexuality still requires responsibility. If you are having a sexual relationship with another person, that other person’s needs, safety and beliefs need to be respected as well.

Before anyone engages in any kind of sex, whether it’s by themselves or with someone else, they should learn as much as they can about their own bodies and all aspects of sex… physical, mental and emotional. How can anyone make an educated decision unless they become educated?

Sadly, in this country, there is still the idea that sex has one function and that is to produce babies. But anyone who has studied human sexuality knows there is much more to sex and the desire to have sex than just reproduction. Because of these attitudes, most kids don’t get any kind of sex education until long after they have become sexually active.

Too many adults believe that “kids” need to be kept pure and innocent until they marry. This is simply unrealistic. Human beings are sexual beings from the moment they are born. Sexuality and sensuality feels good. Even young children learn at an early age that touching themselves feels good. Unfortunately, too many adults are still uncomfortable with this and start heaping on guilt on something that is perfectly natural and pleasurable. Too many religions still believe that self pleasuring or masturbation is a sin and therefore evil. They believe that forbidding children to not engage in any form of sexuality, including masturbating, will destroy the desire to do so. But in most cases, just the opposite happens.

If we want kids to be responsible adults, and that includes sexuality, we need to teach them how to do that.

So if you are a kid who has a parent who is squeamish about talking to you about sex, you might have to start the conversation yourself. As a minor, you will still need to their approval and permission for some things in regards to your sex life. It’s my personal opinion that if a teen is ready for sexual activity, they are usually old enough to make that decision, and that includes using birth control. But each family is going to have to decide that for themselves, hopefully in a good discussion that includes the child.

Kids and adults need to have accurate answers to all aspects of sex. The days are past where we just assume that two people will discover the answers by themselves by trial and error. If this was true, we wouldn’t have all of the sex problems we have in the world.. from rape to sex trafficking to unwanted pregnancies to unfulfilled sex lives even after marriage. In some cases, marriage isn’t even an option that many people want to pursue and that should be their choice and right. Insisting and expecting that sex will only take place after a wedding is both unfair and unrealistic.

Sexual people need to know how their bodies work, why some things feel good and others don’t, how to fix the ones that don’t feel good, how to be responsible in regards to preventing pregnancy or illness, to understanding how trauma affects sexuality and self esteem, and many other issues that evolve. Too many parents still believe that if they don’t mention sex to their kids, their kids won’t think about sex. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Kids need to learn about the anatomy of their own bodies and the changes that will happen as they get older.

They need to learn the mechanics of sexual intercourse using real pictures not drawings of body parts.

They need to learn both the real names like penis, vagina, breasts as well as the slang words.

They need to learn about all forms of birth control such as condoms and how to use one, as well as the pill, IUD’s, shots, implants, patches, cervical caps, in addition to abstinence, the withdrawal method and sterilization (Tubal and Vasectomy) .

They need to learn about all types of sexuality including homosexuality, intersexuality, transsexuality, and bisexuality and that all of these are normal.

They need to learn about consent and both boys and girls need to understand that only yes means yes and that a good sexual relationship depends on open communication between partners.

They need to learn about pregnancy and what can and does go wrong; miscarriage, birth defects, stillbirth along with the things that happen during and after pregnancy (morning sickness, labor, edema).

They need to learn about relationships such as marriage, divorce, parenting. Too often we glamorize the idea of pregnancy and motherhood and rarely tell the reality of what it’s like to take care of a newborn infant and the sacrifices needed to be a parent.

With this they need to learn about what abortion means (all the reasons why they might have to make this decision for themselves) and that they have the right to do so if this is a route they might have to take.

They need to learn that their bodies are normal no matter what size, shape and color of their genitals. They should be comfortable with looking and touching their own genitals and encouraged to do so. How can they know what feels good and right when someone else touches them, if they don’t touch themselves?

They should be encouraged to masturbate, which is healthy and normal. Adults need to get past the idea there is something wrong with masturbation… for themselves and for their kids.

But teens also have to learn that it’s okay for them to wait to have sex for the time when it’s right for them. Kids should never be pushed one way or another… either be forced to wait to have sex because of adult or religious opinions or pushed to have sex before they are ready because of perceived peer pressure. Kids need to understand just because their friends say they are having sex, it doesn’t mean they really are.

Kids need to learn about orgasm and how to achieve one.

They need to learn about oral sex and how it works, and why it is as much having sex as vaginal intercourse.

They need to learn how to have and show respect for themselves, their partners and their friends.

They need to learn about sexual innuendo and sexual harassment; giving and receiving.

They need to learn about sexually transmitted diseases… the real information and not fear-mongering.

I’ve been saying these kinds of things for years. I have been accused of trying to drive kids into be sexually active before they are ready. That telling kids all of this information will just make them want to have sex more than if they are not told anything, when actually, it’s just the opposite. The more information they have, the more likely they will be able to make an educated, informed decision about when, how and with whom to have sex.

You wouldn’t let a teenage drive your car without learning what it is and how it works, safety and the rules of the road, responsibility, etc… but too many adults seem to be just fine with letting kids do the same thing with their bodies and sexuality. If you really think that teens don’t think about sex if you don’t bring it up, then you clearly don’t understand kids and don’t remember being one.
Resources:

Home

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifes … t-20044034
http://www.scarleteen.com/
http://www.teensource.org/
https://www.plannedparenthood.org/teens/

Birth Control

 

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Society’s Need for Better Sex Education

When I started studying sexuality, I learned a lot of things that I imagine that most people haven’t learned and didn’t and don’t know about. These are my impressions about what I have learned, that I should have learned years ago.

1. We need better sex education for everyone… kids and adults. Some people insist sex is only for married people, so that’s the only time they need to learn about it. Wrong. Sex  education is for everyone, and not just after puberty, but from the time children are little. Perhaps if I had been taught things about my body when I was three, I might not have been molested, or I at least might have told someone. Children need to be taught that their bodies are their own and they are the ones who decide who gets to touch them and when to say no, and when to let someone know that they have been touched inappropriately. Even something as seemly innocent of saying, “Give Aunt Bertha a hug and kiss” sends the wrong message to children, as well as to those who would take advantage of others. I had a grandfather who was all touchy-feely with the granddaughters. All six of us learned to watch out for one another and stay away from grandpa. But none of us told our parents what was happening.

2. Our sexual desires begin between the ages of 3 and 9, and children can and do have orgasms. I had my first one when I was six. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I remember it very clearly. Children should not be shamed for masturbating. I have talked to so many adults that were taught to feel guilty about looking at and touching their own bodies and that mentality can cause so much damage.

3. Sex is not just for the young and the thin. Older people and bigger people want to have and do have sex all the time. Making fun of this idea is narrow-minded and selfish. Fat-shaming about sex is getting worse, especially in this age of hooking up online. Many people also buy into the idea that sex ends when you turn 50 or whenever a woman goes through menopause. This idea stems back to the idea that women’s only purpose in life is to bear children. Once that is no longer an option, the woman was basically useless and sex was no longer required or wanted. I have talked to a lot of women my age who have bought into this idea and seem relieved to be “done with all that nonsense”. When I had a hysterectomy at age 55, even the female doctor whispered to me, “now you have an excuse to not have sex anymore”.. and I believed it, didn’t  have sex for nearly 10 years!

4. We have to get over the idea that sex and nudity is bad, evil, sick, dirty and wrong, and that sex is only for after marriage, and even for many sex between married people is done only under the covers and with the lights out. This idea of sex only being for marriage is a relatively new concept. If you study the history of marriage and sex you will learn that many people had sex before they married. In my own family history, at least half of the brides were pregnant on their wedding day. At one time, couples were encourage to have sex prior to marriage to make sure they were fertile enough to procreate, which was the main focus of marriage. Often the wedding didn’t occur until the woman was confirmed pregnant. There also use to be a tradition called bundling. Because young men many times had to travel several days to court a young lady, he was invited to stay a night or two. Because sleeping arrangements were limited and it was assumed that the couple would marry, he was invited to spend the night in the girl’s bed, with some restrictions. Both of them must remained clothed, with their own blanket tightly wrapped around each of them and then a board was placed between them. This allowed them, in theory, to talk, cuddle and share their hopes and dreams with one another. Of course, theory doesn’t always play out the way it’s designed and bundling often led to quickie marriages and so-called premature babies 7 months later.

5. We need to stop instilling fear and guilt in kids about sex, especially girls, and that it is only for reproduction. That is damaging on so many levels. It’s much better to teach them about consent, communication, respect and responsibility. As well as the mechanics and techniques about sex and relationships with others in general. I’ve been astounded that sex education today isn’t much better than the lame classes I had 50 years ago. My sex ed at the age of 12 consisted of learning about Kotex pads, what my menstrual period was and why I had one each month, and how to keep my legs together with knees touching at all times, along with the warning to never touch myself or allow anyone else to touch me. Ever. This was so deeply ingrained that when I became pregnant and was suppose to prepare my nipples for breastfeeding, I couldn’t do it and I suffered greatly when I nursed my children. The only thing we learned about the male gender was seeing a drawing of a flaccid penis and being told to stay away from it. We learned that “the male seed” was needed in order to create a baby, but no information as to how it got there. My mother affirmed much of this mentality about sex… that it was just something to be endured and certainly not enjoy. “Just close your eyes and think of something else, it will be over quickly…”

6. The most surprising and one that I honestly had never considered… disabled people wanting, needing and having sex. This is practically the last taboo and it needs to end. Disabled people have as much as a desire and need for sex as anyone else. Just because something on our body or in our brain doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean the rest of our body and mind doesn’t work as well. Because of the images we see in men’s magazines (as well as some women’s) and in porn, we get the idea that, for women especially, that all sexually active females are young (but 21 so they are legal), thin, white, able-bodied and active. Men have a little more lee-way, they can be older, carry a little extra weight and can often be any race. But if you are fat, old, and need a cane or wheelchair to get around, there is no visual images to support you and your idea of being wanted, needed and desired. This leaves out a lot of people.

I was in my 60’s before I learned what it was that I was missing. When I was younger, the message was.. “be a good girl, a nice girl, submissive, but pure, save yourself for marriage..” Unfortunately the message didn’t come with what to do when others decided to take from me that which I was suppose to saving. I knew instinctively, that I was no longer “pure”, good or nice. When I finally decided to just fuck that attitude and chose to have sex with my new boyfriend, I was bitterly disappointed. This is what I was saving myself for?? I was expecting fireworks and it was… nothing!! Other than when I was a child and had induced my own orgasms by propping myself up, crossing my legs and swinging back and forth, I never had an orgasm with sex. Ever! The only time I craved sex was when I was pregnant, and because of religious teachings, that was not allowed so it never happened. It wasn’t until I took matters in my own hands, literally, and learned the joys of masturbation. That inspired me do research about human sexuality, which also led me learning about BDSM. How I wish I had learned all, or at least, some of this when I was younger, without the guilt, fear and shame of wanting, needing and having sex.