Teens Are Having Sex. (Are You Ready to Talk About It?)

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It’s hard for every parent to accept it, but our children grow up. Parents must protect their children from the realities of sex but also prepare them to know when sex is okay.

They usually grow up with no idea concerning what sex is really about.

Most parents talk to their kids after they think they are fooling around.

We get caught off guard until something grabs our attention. 

And then, we are like, oh gosh.

For most teens, sex starts with curiosity and ignorance.

Only a few have sex the first time they start messing around.

So if you think something is going on, there is still time to talk.

This blog has that in mind.

It will cover the major issues you need to brush up on before you have “The Talk”.

First things first…

Teenagers want their parents to talk to them about sex!

Could you have honest conversations with your parents about sex growing up?

If that’s something you want for your teenager, the research shows they want it too. 

50% of teenagers between the ages of 10-15 said that they would want advice from their parents first on how to handle the pressure of sex. 

Did you catch that?

Teens who would seek guidance, say that they would want to get it from their parents first.

But that is the problem.

According to the research:

Only 50% of parents talk to teens about sex beforehand.

Most parents find it hard to know when it’s the right time to talk about sex.

The newest data has some good news for parents!

69% of teenagers think it would be easier to delay sexual activity if they could have open and honest conversations with their parents about it.

If you think it might be time to talk to your teenager about their sex life, you are probably right.

Experts say 15 is the age to start talking to your teenager about sex.

Zava, an online healthcare portal used their platform to survey 1,000 Americans and Europeans. 

Zava discovered that 15 was the average age of “sexual awakening”. 

These are sexual feelings and desires related to puberty.

This is not to say that is a hard and fast age but it gives you a good baseline from which to prepare.

If you want to have this conversation before they start acting on their desires, time is of the essence. 

There is approximately a two-year window.

Even with major differences factored in, 17 is the average age teenagers lose their virginity.

This falls in line with what most of the other data organizations are reporting. 

Whether your teenager is ready to have sex or not will have a lot to do with their morals and what you feel comfortable talking with them about.

By the time they are this age, hopefully, they will have established their own set of morals. 

One thing is for sure. Teenagers today are more precautious.

The teen birth is at an all-time low. 

The most current research done by the Pew Research Center shows that the teen birth rate is the lowest it has ever been. 

There are several factors to consider but before you jump to conclusions, think about some of the changes that have occurred.  

The most obvious change is cultural. 

Teen pregnancy was not an issue in the past because for the most part they were married.  

The latest National Vital Statistics Report by the CDC shows that in 1960 an estimated 85% of teen pregnancies were to married women. 

Today, 89% of teen pregnancies are to unwed mothers.

It is common knowledge that people are not starting families as early as previous generations. 

They are opting to stay single longer and are much more careful concerning their sexual activity. 

So, if pregnancy and abortions are both down what is happening?

Teens are having sex ALOT less than before.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Report (YRBS)  found a steady decline of sexually active high schoolers since 1991. 

The most significant drop in sexual activity was among Black, non-Hispanics. 

In 2017 the CDC updated the data and found, “…another decline in the percentage of high school students who report that they have ever had sex. 

The self-reported data shows that students who: Ever had sex: Declined from 47.8% in 2007 to 39.5% in 2017.”

The number of sexual partners for teenagers is decreasing as well.

Consider the following:

Technology has made access to sexualized content easier than ever before. 

Adult content is perhaps the most searched for topic on the internet. 

Fight the New Drug has an insightful article on their website that gives an in-depth look at porn users viewing habits  2018.

Perhaps the reason teenagers are having less sex is that they are spending more time looking at porn.

For various reasons, previous generations had more sexual partners before “settling down” but today’s teenagers are having sex with fewer partners and waiting longer. 

(YRBS) found that teenagers reporting four or more sexual partners decreased from 14.9% in 2007 to 9.7% in 2017. 

There have been several reports of teenagers having less physical social connection than previous generations.

Dr. Jeane Twengw compared previous generations of teens and how often they spent time with their friends to today’s teens.

She also examined how feelings of loneliness differed across the generations.

She found that “today’s teens are socializing with friends in fundamentally different ways – and also happen to be the loneliest generation on record.

They are less likely to get together with their friends. 

They’re also less likely to go to parties, go out with friends, date, ride in cars for fun, go to shopping malls or go to the movies.”

Bottom line, less physical contact means sexual experiences are not as easy to come by.

This can be a good thing but replacing sexual contact with sexual content has its own set of challenges.

33% of teenagers report being abused by a romantic partner.

According to (YRBS), 1 in 10 high school students who dated someone in the past 12 months reported being slapped or purposefully hit and physically hurt by a romantic partner.

As is the case with most victims of abuse, news of the violence rarely gets reported. 

They find that about 23% of females and 14% of males had their first encounter with dating abuse between the ages of 11-17. 

What is truly discouraging is the number of parents who simply neglect to talk with their children about this issue. 

A study in the Journal of Adolescent Health said that 65.5% of parents have never had a conversation with their teenager about dating violence.

Another thing to be aware of: 

You probably already know the person your teenager will lose their virginity to. 

One thing that should be common sense is that teenagers first time having sex is usually with a boyfriend or girlfriend. 

The Guttermacher Institute’s 2017 report on, Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in the United States found that 73% of females and 58% of males said their first time having sex was with someone they were in a relationship with. 

When you think about it, this makes sense of the research which tells us that we gain knowledge about sex mostly from experience.

The data also shows that a teenager’s first sexual encounter is likely a safe one. 

This probably accounts for the decrease in teen birth rates over the past decades. 

The next piece of data I came across really stopped me in my tracks.

Teenagers with both parents living in the home are less sexually active.

When you think of the common places people tend to lose their virginity, one realizes quickly why they are common. There are only so many things you can do or places you can go to find privacy. 

Finding a good place is one of the most stressful aspects for teenagers seeking to have sex. 

Whether they are seeking a quiet place to park or looking for a secluded location, teenagers that want to have sex are likely going to seek out places where they can be alone and private. 

In 2017, the National Center for Health Statistics Report showed that the living arrangement of teenagers played a significant role in determining first-time sexual encounters. 

Teenagers having both parents living in the home by age 14 are much less sexually active. 

The data is not clear as to why but it seems that traditional families have an advantage when it comes to abstinence. 

Religion and morals make a difference.

For me, this was the most compelling data piece.

The table shows that religion and moral values are the top reason teenagers give for abstaining from sex.

The other issues are not wanting to get someone pregnant, followed by not having met the right person.

I was startled a bit by religion and morals being the top reason.

I began to wonder as I wrote this blog if I was holding on to the wrong ideas.

I came to realize that Instagram & Snapchat only give a surface level view of teenagers today.

It is so easy to judge someone by a social media profile.

And granted, teens should know better but they don’t because we forget they are still children. 

The raw data shows a different story.

Teenagers are less sexually active but they are not as sexually innocent.

The instant availability of hardcore pornography has influenced a large portion of teenagers. 

Your teenager needs you to make time for conversation.

Tell the stories of your teenage years.

Inspire them to see things differently.

It’s time to take action. Talk to your teenagers about sex.

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