Contrary to popular belief, being a teenager is hard work. This is the awkward time before adulthood that you get to make decisions that will possibly affect the rest of your lives. What major to choose? What college to go to? How to handle peer pressure? Should I have sex? Should I use a condom? These questions have no easy answers. They all are weighted questions with consequences at either direction that will be chosen.
Peer pressure has been a blight on mankind since its inception. Ironically, there is never peer pressure to do anything positive. It is always pressure to conquer the negative. The pressure to have sex is greater than ever. Everywhere teenagers turn there is some sort of sexual connotation. Sex sells cars, jewelry and clothes. Sex is in television programs, movies, music, music videos, cartoons and even books. In order to be considered popular, you have to have some sort of sexual air about you. Dressing conservatively is considered “square” or “lame”. Abstaining from sexual activity is an ancient concept. Society is just now retreating from an abstinence only mindset. The realization is that more and more teenagers are engaging in sexual activities. Teen pregnancy is at an all time high. One third of all teenage girls will get pregnant. This is not accounting for the teenage girls who have sex and do not become pregnant. Approximately one in four teenagers will contract an STD. Most of these STD’s will go untreated out of fear from parental retribution.
Consider that it is difficult to get adults to use condoms; it is really that surprising that teenagers does not use them? Every day teens are flooded with imagery that compels you to make adult decisions. There is not a lot of imagery that pushes the use of condoms. It is well known that young people feel that they are invincible. It is not until they are facing real adult situations such as pregnancy or STD’s that the harsh realization of their humanness comes to light.
So, the question arises, how do I make a good decision without being ostracized? How can I remain safe and popular at the same time? Your health should not be a matter of public opinion. When you contract an STD or get pregnant, it is not a public issue. It is your own personal struggle. The physical pains that you have to endure are suffered alone. Since you have to suffer the consequences by yourself, understand that the choice is always up to you. Your health has to be a number one priority. Understanding that there are STD’s out there such as HIV/AIDS that you cannot get rid of… ever! You cannot cure herpes. Risking your health for the sake of being popular is a foolish decision. What your friends think of you will not be a factor once you have to deal with the symptoms of having an STD such as itching (Trichomoniasis) or lesions (Syphilis) or lower abdominal pain, burning pain during urination (Chlamydia). Most STD’s have no symptoms (HIV/AIDS, Gonorrhea). Suffering in silence with a lot of these STD’s can lead to serious complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (Gonorrhea). Finally, understanding that while most of these STD’s can be treated, there are a few that can lead to infertility (Gonorrhea) and left untreated, death (HIV/AIDS, Syphilis).
The only way to be 100% certain that you will not contract any STD’s is to abstain from having sex all together. However, if you are going to have sex, be smart, use condoms.
Ultimately the choice is up to you.
For more information on STD’s, pregnancy, testing, where to get condoms or for just general information, please visit www.teenwire.com.