Tyra Banks SHOCKED that teens are having lots of irresponsible sex
Tyra Banks SHOCKED that teens are having lots of irresponsible sex
Teens and sex is a hot-button issue. The generally accepted wisdom today seems to be that teens are old enough to make their own decisions on the subject, and they can have as much sex as they want as long as they’re taught to be “safe” first. They learn about safety from the valuable things they learn in sex ed… you know, “good sex” talks in middle school and gay porn in high school. Does it work? Probably not, considering girls are getting knocked up on purpose and contracting STDs faster than Obama can make appointments to meet with terrorist leaders. Then you’ve got parents who sit back and do nothing as their girls are sexualized, and BAM! We end up with the results of this survey which caused Tyra Banks to be utterly shocked. (Me, not so much.)
More than 10,000 teenage girls and young women took part in an anonymous survey over the summer on TyraShow.com, the Web site of “The Tyra Banks Show.” Survey questions focused on sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy, as well as drinking, drugs and violence among females. Here are some findings from the survey:
On average, girls are losing their virginity at 15 years of age. 14 percent of teens who are having sex say they’re doing it at school. One in three says she fears having a sexually transmitted disease. 24 percent of teens with STDs say they still have unprotected sex. One in five girls says she wants to be a teen mom. About 50 percent acknowledge that they’ve hit someone. One out of three teens has tried drugs.
… On “The Tyra Banks Show” airing Friday, eight girls ranging in age from 14 to 17 discuss the survey findings and share their own personal experiences. Seven of the eight say they are sexually active; of those seven, just one says she uses protection when having sex.
… Another girl, a 17-year-old mother of a 7-month-old boy, says she lost her virginity on a school lunch break and deliberately planned her pregnancy by monitoring her menstrual cycle.
“I had helped teach a sex-ed class to a class of freshmen my sophomore year,” she explains. “We taught how … there’s a week [in] the month you are more likely to get pregnant than any other time of the month. I had calculated that out and I decided on two days I was most likely to get pregnant.”
Girls on the show also talk about experimenting with the drugs salvia and Ecstasy and getting into violent fights with other girls.
I’m not trying to be heartless. But what do you really expect? As sad and terrible as results are, they aren’t terribly shocking. We live in a completely sex-obsessed culture, and on top of that, one that is almost completely void of personal responsibility. Who gets hit the hardest? Immature teens with raging hormones and fragile emotions.
So what is it that has caused so many teenage girls to exercize such poor judgement when it comes to sex? Well, let’s see. There’s the fact that, too often, teens are being told they can make up their own mind when it comes to sex and to do it when it “feels right” for them. It doesn’t matter who you sleep with or why, as long as you use protection. That’s the theme. As long as they’re “educated” about sex, teens can do what they want. They’re young, and it’s healthy to experiment, right?
Uh, wrong. Teenagers are going through some of the most unstable emotional years of their lives. And the decision to have sex — something that will be life-changing, no matter what Seventeen tells them — is not a decision to be made lightly, nor one to be encourage. On top of that, more and more often teens are being encouraged not to talk to their parents about it. Exhibit A, teen magazine Seventeen on talking to parents about sex (emphasis mine):
“I come from a family who doesn’t believe in sex before marriage, but I want to have sex. How do I talk to my mom about this?”
–Jenny, 14, Winnipeg, CA
You have probably put a lot of thought into this, but before talking to your mom, think it through one last time. Take into account the “risks and the benefits” of sex — as well as what it might mean to you emotionally — just to make sure you are certain you do want to have sex now. Once you are positive this is what you want to do, be prepared for what your mother’s response might be. Think about the conversation from her point of view. Really listen to her and see what she’s most worried about. You might be surprised by what her concerns are.
It’s great that you want to keep the lines of communication open with your mother, even though you realize how difficult it might be. That says a lot about your relationship. When you talk to your mother, show her that you have really thought this through, and understand the consequences and risks. This will show her that you are prepared to handle the next step maturely, whatever that next step might be.
Nice and non-judgemental. Get what the advice is? Make your own decision before you talk to Mom. Listen to her but it’s ultimately your decision. At 14 you’re mature enough to handle it even if your mom disagrees.
Lots of teen mags have similar attitudes towards sex. CosmoGIRL!, like it’s older sister version, has an entire section devoted just to sex. From “demystifying guys’ bodies” to embarassing sex questions to “understanding your body”, they’ve got you covered. Anal sex? Check! Lesbian sex? Check! Masturbation? Check! CosmoGIRL! also referred me to a lovely website called Teenwire, which is chockful of sex information. One of the rare mentions of abstinence was a goofy cartoon game in which a guy mentions he’s abstinent, causing everyone else to stop and gape at him like he’s some kind of lunatic.
Then there’s TV. When I was growing up, it was all about shows like The Real World and Beverly Hills, 90210. Donna Martin may be the most famous virgin in TV history, and the show certainly didn’t keep her virginity a secret. And while on The Real World cast members have always been pretty people who drank and had sex, there were also a lot of real social issues discussed and handled on the show, from AIDS to racism to homophobia to politics to religion. Sex, while discussed, was never quite so out-in-the-open. No longer on today’s seasons, though. The Real World has now become nothing more than a show in which college students live in a sweet house where the sex is no longer subtle (one season, three roommates were shown hooking up in a hot tub and another season, a gay cast member hooked up on camera in the confessional room) and the season serves as an ongoing orgy and party, while teens who idolize MTV drink it up. Then you’ve got popular teen dramas like The O.C., Laguna Beach, and Gossip Girl, in which teens regularly engage in promiscuous sex.
So teens are being bombarded from every angle about sex. They get it from TV, movies, and magazines. Their schools are telling them they can go whatever they want, and encourage experimentation as “healthy sexuality”, as long as the teens are “safe”. Yet, shockingly, teens are not fully digesting that information, are they? No, no they are not. Perhaps it is because there is something missing from the sex education we are giving our children. Whether you believe in waiting until marriage or not, treating sex as something casual is a lie, and one that teens are hearing over and over and over again. When they’re constantly being shown that casual sex is OK, and they’re getting bombarded with the pressure to just do it and no one is there to tell them to slow down, what else are we to expect? Too many parents are absent, and schools are too busy pushing an agenda to really care. I’ve never been one to preach about abstinence-only education, but I don’t for a second believe the current “USE CONDOMS! EXPERIMENT FREELY!” education is any better. Obviously, judging from what we’re seeing, something isn’t working.
The question is, when are parents going to step it up to try to stop the hyper-sexualization of their children? What will it take?