Sex. To have it or not? When? With whom? How to say no? Here is what teens like you feel, know and want to know about sex.
Is everyone doing it?
Practically all teens are having sex - at least that`s what you seem to think. But maybe you`re a little too quick to assume that teenagers` sex lives are like a rabbit`s! When 75%of teens believe that having sexual intercourse is something most teens do, only 40% of teens say they`ve had sexual intercourse. A lot of people talk about having sex, but they aren`t really doing it. They just want to fit in. So the next time, the guy in your life stalks you with the famous statement, `but everyone`s doing it!` You know what to do!
Out of the closet
Twenty years ago, gays and lesbians were stigmatised- and many kept their sexuality under wraps. These days, you can`t turn on your TV or go to a movie without running into a gay or lesbian character, and the gradual shift in attitudes in our country toward homosexuality is apparent in teens` progressive and evolving views.
Lots of people assume that teenage boys are walking hormone machines constantly hassling girls to go all the way. But when we asked teens why they have sex, we found that the guy-as-aggressor stereotype may be all wrong. Guys pointed to social forces that influence their behaviour. 45% of sexually active guys 15 or older said having sex makes them feel like normal teens (compared to 18 percent of girls). And guys are susceptible to emotional and social pressure to do the deed - maybe more so than girls! Still, when it comes to being "forced,ť 26 percent of teenage girls who`ve had sex say they have at some time been pushed into it, compared to 15 percent of boys.
Precaution and Protection
Is it ignorance, recklessness or a false sense of invincibility that renders so many teens cavalier about birth control? It`s hard to tell. Nearly 20% of teens say they don`t think AIDS is a threat to them or their friends - even though young people account for more than half of all new HIV infections. 26% of sexually active teens say they never use birth control. Maybe it`s because they don`t know how to find it: 52% are not sure where to get contraceptives.
What mom and dad know?
Are you talking to your parents about sex? Are your parents talking to you about sex? 67% of teens say they`ve never discussed with their parents anything sexual they have done. 56% say they don`t tell their parents about their sex lives because they`re afraid Mom and Dad wouldn`t be able to handle it - most often because the teens thought such info would "go against their (parents`) idea of who I am.ť
In terms of parents talking to kids, 21% of respondents` folks have not talked to them about sex. And teens who haven`t been privy to a birds-and-bees sessions are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour - such as having sex younger and having lots of partners. 77% of all teens say a parent pretty much told them what they needed to know about the consequences of sex. But one in three kids say they`re not getting enough information about birth control or the biological and emotional aspects of sex.