What Teens Know About Herpes and Other STDs
A new report came out, and it seems to me that teenagers and adults have a lot in common when it comes to their ignorance about both herpes and STD’s. I think the reports showed that teens do exactly what people would expect from teens. (Especially, since most adults haven’t come anymore to grips with STD’s than teens have.)
In short, teenagers are more worried about the social aspects of STD’s than they are the health aspects. Teens, like adults, do everything in their power NOT to deal with the issue. It ranges from “turning a blind eye” and remaining ignorant, to feelings of invincibility; also known as “that could never happen to me.”
People don’t like to deal with or think about anything that may stop them from getting more sex!
Teenagers by the nature of the age are risk takers, and neither teens nor adults really understand risk, reward, magnitude of loss, probability, magnitude of gains… all the concepts that help a person make good choices. As such, there are a lot of STD’s in the world which no one wants to talk about.
Here are some interesting notes regarding the report:
• The report seemed to imply that teenagers would rather have an unwanted pregnancy than get a STD!
• Teens see condoms more as a means to reduce the risk of pregnancy than that of reducing sexually transmitted disease. (They don’t really understand STD’s, but they do pregnancy.)
• Teens said they would not tell anyone if they did get a STD.
• Many had unprotected sex on more than one occasion
• Teens get drunk and have unprotected sex… (What’s new?)
Teens say Sex Education in school is:
• Too little too late
• Teachers are untrained
• Not enough time is devoted to it
In short, Sex Education is just like it has always been. It’s an uncomfortable situation for all involved, and everyone feels it is not really the proper place or forum for a serious talk about what needs to be talked about.
SOLUTION: Maybe we should make parents attend the class instead… and the homework would be teaching their children. To educated students properly would involve a lot more dating and relationship advice than may be appropriate in a school setting. (At least, supply parents with materials to start the discussion.)
Teens say “The Talk” with parents:
• Parents give the sex talk, but leave out the part about STD’s. Teenagers say parents don’t know about or don’t really want to talk about STDs.
• Teens don’t like “the talk” because they want privacy and they have a different perspective than their parents. Essentially, what are the chances that their parents are going to see eye to eye with them about their sex life?
Teens in the study said:
• They think teens are having sex even younger than they were 5 years ago. (This shows that even teens talk about “kids today.”)
• The majority said they first had sex when they were 16-17 years old.
• They feel uncomfortable talking about sex with their parents.
• The perception is that girls who carry condoms are “seeking sex.” (Strange that boys “seeking sex” would think that was a bad thing.)
• They don’t want to talk about “sexual history” with their sex partner. (Seems it’s for the same reasons most people don’t want to talk about it. People think they are “promiscuous” if they have had a lot of sex, and someone is bound to get jealous. These talks often come down to “bragging” or “lying.” Everyone should be taught to approach these not as a way to find out someone’s dirty little secret, but as a way to open up real communication in order to protect everyone involved, as well as having a better sexual experience.)
• Teens say they learn about sex from peers, not adults.
Parents said or conclusions derived:
• They didn’t want their kids to have sex until they were 18 years old.
• Don’t really know enough about STD’s to teach their kids.
• Don’t want to talk about sex too early in their child’s life. (Who wants their kids to grow up faster than they need to?)
• Parents often are in denial. (My child is not having sex. They don’t even think about sex. Right…)
In short, parents don’t want to talk about STD’s, because they don’t really know much about STD’s. Truth be told, how many people have really put the time in to understand STD’s beyond a surface level? How can someone who is ignorant about something, really teach another person about it?
The studies were done by Drury Research and Sponsored by Phizer (Dublin, Ireland)
The study looked at these two groups:
• Group 1 – 120 people ages 18-20
• Group 2 – 4 focus groups of parents of younger teenagers, age 14-16 years old.
I think the study shows what most people already know.