Some Good Sex News

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My husband forwarded me this article , entitled "The Myth of Rampant Teenage Promiscuity," and told me that it made him "much more at ease" about the imminent arrival of our baby girl. I was intrigued...!

According to the piece, the notion that teenagers today are over-sexed and that casual sex is as common as teenage rebellion is a myth. Regardless of Tyra and Oprah telling us about an oral sex epidemic and the rising rates of teenage pregnancies, "the reality is that in many ways, today’s teenagers are more conservative about sex than previous generations."

Well color me happy! But wait...Can this possibly be true? Even as I was asking that to myself, I came upon the part of the article that was trying to explain people just like me:

Although the data is clear, health researchers say it is often hard to convince adults that most teenagers have healthy attitudes about sex.

“I give presentations nationwide where I’m showing people that the virginity rate in college is higher than you think and the number of partners is lower than you think and hooking up more often than not does not mean intercourse,” Dr. Bogle said. “But so many people think we’re morally in trouble, in a downward spiral and teens are out of control. It’s very difficult to convince people otherwise.”
They certainly pegged me. I want to believe this but part of me just doesn't. Why is that? If this article is accurate, why do so many of us have this idea that we are sending our children out into a world of rampant sexuality? Do we just create things to worry about?
21 comments:
Lilu R said...

Gotta say I read this article this morning and breathed a big ole sigh of relief. One less thing to worry about! I'm not sure where our paranoia over sex comes from but I am happy to chalk it up to paranoia and deal with my own psychosis rather than have it be a real thing!

Bonita said...

YES I think we DO just create things! And I am as guilty of it as everyone. Great article so glad to ahve seen it. But I'm still worried. I think it's in part because everywhere you look there are pre-pubescent girls in hoochie clothes and movies and songs about hos and whores and the like. It has to come from somewhere.

Yasmeen said...

It's part of our job to worry (and this is a part that most mothers I know do very well, A-plus!) but thank god that articles like this show us that some of what we fret and fear about is really just a product of our fretting and fearing. Obviously we have to be watchful over our kids (even the article says that the predictors for kids with healthy attitudes towards sex are parent involvement, etc.) but we don't need to keep our daughters (or our sons for that matter) under lock and key.

Sita said...

I don't know, this sentence from the article makes it seem like we do have to still keep them under "lock and key": “For teens, sex requires time and lack of supervision,” Dr. Kefalas said.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I'm like you. I do think teenagers are more promiscuous and sexually active than my generation was. But I have faith in the NYTIMES so I suppose I have to re-visit my beliefs? Bottom line even if it isn't "that bad," there is still that percentage of teenagers having sex too young and we have to make sure our kids don't fall into that gropu.

Priya said...

okay, sorry but NO WAY, new york times or not this is just not the case. you should hear how my friends' kids talk! my kids aren't in high school yet (thank god) but i have friends whose kids are almost there and the things they know! the language they use! it makes me blush! that has GOT to indicate something??

SM said...

I'm with your husband: This is great news and a huge relief! (I'm pregnant with a girl right now too. It's amazing where your mind will take you when you think about bringing a new person into the world.)

Anonymous said...

Even if a study told us that 99% of teenage girls do not engage in pre-marital sex I would worry about the 1 %...that's just the way I am I suppose. I didn't wait until I was married but I wish I did and I will do absolutely anything to ensure that my daughter does.

Hema said...

What are we really concerned about here? Our kids engaging in sex too early? Or at all before marriage? For me it's part that they will be behaving in sexualized ways too early but it's equally part that they even have to think about sex when they are children. The study doesn't really address that--the idea that, even if they aren't necessarily having sex all the time, they may be thinking about it, watching movies centered around it, talking about it etcetera.

Anonymous said...

there is no way this is really the case. maybe overall incidence of teenage sex is down but i bet it is on the rise amongst certain demographics and i bet many of the readers of this blog fall into those demographics.

Anonymous said...

great article, huge relief, i am for any good news in this day and age!

Jaspreet said...

It's fascinating that so many people will fail to take this conclusion at face value but are hungry to accept so much other stuff. Then again, like you said in another post, you have to take any sort of study with a grain of salt and temper it with your gut reaction. Maybe if your gut reaction is saying this isn't true, you need to follow that in raising your child.

Bill said...

ok this is a father writing:while I would think that for many things moms tend to make mountains out of molehills, I think the concern about overly sexed kids is legit. Just my two cents.

Sho said...

You have a son, is that right? I have to ask, would your (both you and your husband) reactions have been similar when thinking about this issue in the context of raising a son? This post, several of the comments, and society at large are disproportionately obsessed with the virginity/promiscuity of young women in particular. Think about it - purity balls, abstinence pledges, scrutiny of how pre-pubescents/adolescents dress: none of these are as targeted toward boys. People put forth all sorts of BS theories as to why this is the case (e.g. girls as the "gatekeepers of sex"), but as far as healthy attitudes towards sex are concerned, this isn't something we as a society should be perpetuating. Parents certainly should pass on their values to their children, but they also need to be mindful of the manner in which they are doing so.

P.c. Police said...

oh come on. I was waiting for someone to make the "point" that " society" focuses disproportionally on female sexuality but go back and read the article bud: nothing about it is gender specific. Plus, at the end of the day, it's the girls who get pregnant, it's the girls who ate emotionally scarred. It's just the way it is double standard or not.

Anonymous said...

Sho: I agree that we have to teach our sons and our daughters thesame values about sexuality. But does anyone really dispute that a pregnancy affects a woman more than a man??

Sho said...

you may want to read the comment again, p.c. police. I didn't cite the article as gender specific, only the reactions. also, putting "point" in air quotes and overstating the emotional scarring in cases where it doesn't apply does nothing to help the double standard.

Sho said...

let me clarify in case that wasn't clear...you say "double standard or not", but your statement that "it's the girls who are emotionally scarred" implies that girls are incapable of making responsible decisions about sex. so clearly it is "double standard" and not so much the "or not" part.

Anonymous said...

I can honestly say I worry about both my son and my daughter in terms of having sex too early. Yes a girl is the one who would have to deal with pregnancy but we aren't talking just pregnancy anymore. We're talking about living in an over-sexed atmosphere, young emotions that are not equipped to deal with the issues sex brings, STDs. I could go on and on.

SM, DC said...

I have another little twist to this scenario about sex and the brown kid. I agree that this whole thing about today's society being overrun with sex mad teenagers is a constant refrain in many books, articles, even TV shows (just watch CSI Miami, where I want to run and cover up some of the teenagers featured). But for us, as devis, it could be a little bit more of an issue, because we have heard our entire lives, from parents, well meaning aunties etc etc about how "american children are just allowed to do anything they want to." In fact, when I was younger, there were many things I wasn't allowed to do (slumber parties anyone?) because my friend in question had an older brother....
To paraphrase, I think that several of us have been ingrained with the notion that this is a sex mad society, as opposed to when our parents lived in India 40-50 years ago. Any thoughts?

Arpita said...

YES. I wasn't allowed to go to slumber parties after a certain age either if there were boys there which at the time I accepted but which now seems ridiculous. Another wrinkle on it is that my parents still thing India (and the world) is how it was when theyw ere growing up but you go to clubs in Bombay or Pune these days and the girls dress more scandelously than college age kids here!

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