The change from child to adult is an especially dangerous time for adolescents in our society and in some cases requires counseling for Sexual Issues.
From their earliest years, children watch television shows and movies that insist that “sex appeal” is a personal quality that people need to develop to the fullest. On average, music videos contain ninety-three sexual situations per hour, including eleven “hard core” scenes depicting behaviors such as intercourse and oral sex. Forty-three percent of the songs on the top CDs in 2011 contained sexual content — nineteen percent included direct descriptions of sexual intercourse. Teenagers are at risk — not only from AIDS and STDs — but from this sort of mass-market encouragement.
TV, movies, and music are not the only influences — the Internet provides teens with seemingly unlimited access to information on sex as well as a steady supply of people willing to talk about sex with them. Teens may feel safe because they can remain anonymous while looking for information on sex. Sexual predators know this and manipulate young people into online relationships and, later, set up a time and place to meet.
Teens don’t need a sexual predator to introduce them to online pornography. It comes to them through porn spam on their e-mail or by inadvertently clicking on a link to a porn site. Through pornography, young people get a twisted view of what constitutes normal relationships.
Many sexual deviations are learned behaviors, with pornography having the power of conditioning into sexual deviancy. Pornography can be addictive, with the individual becoming desensitized to ‘soft’ porn and moving on to dangerous images of bondage, rape, sadomasochism, torture, bestiality, pedophilia and other sexual violence.
Teens have their own cultural beliefs about what is normal sexual behavior. Although most teenage girls believe that sex equals love, other teens — especially boys — believe that sex is not the ultimate expression of the ultimate commitment, but a casual activity and minimize risks or serious consequences. That is, of course, what they see on TV. The infrequent portrayals of sexual risks on TV, such as disease and pregnancy, trivialize the importance of sexual responsibility.
Other misconceptions include: all teens are having sex, having sex makes you an adult, something is wrong with an older teen who is not having sex, a girl can’t get pregnant if she’s menstruating, a girl can’t get pregnant if it’s her first time. Clearly, parents are in a tough spot. But there are some key ideas that help make sense of things.
Teenagers should learn the facts about human reproduction, contraception, and sexually transmitted diseases. Of the over 60 million people who have been infected with HIV in the past 20 years, about half became infected between the ages of 15 and 24. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about twenty-five percent of sexually active teenagers get a sexually transmitted disease every year, and 80% of infected teens don’t even know they have an STD, passing the diseases along to unsuspecting partners. When it comes to AIDS, the data is even more chilling — of the new HIV infections each year, about 50% occur in people under the age of 25.
Young people need to know that teens who are sexually active and do not consistently use contraceptives will usually become pregnant and have to face potentially life-altering decisions about resolving their pregnancy through abortion, adoption, or parenthood.
Health classes and sex education programs in the schools typically present information about the risks of sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy risk, and contraception. However, evidence shows that traditional sex education, as it has been offered in the United States, increases sexual knowledge, but has little or no effect on whether or not teens engage in sex or use contraception.
Parents, too, need to know important information, such as the younger the age of first sexual intercourse, the more likely that the experience was coercive, and that forced sexual intercourse is related to long-lasting negative effects.
The challenge for any person is to make sense of facts in ways that are meaningful in life — in ways that help them think and make wise choices. Schoolroom lessons leave much to be desired in this regard.
Commitments and values differ so widely in society that schools cannot be very thorough or consistent in their treatment of moral issues. According to a growing body of research, parents and religious beliefs are a potent one-two combination when it comes to influencing a teen’s decisions about whether or not to have sex.
Teenagers need to understand that satisfying sexual relationships — like other relationships — require careful thought and wise action. It’s important for parents to understand what is “normal” sexual behavior in children and teenagers, and which behaviors might signal that a child is a victim of sexual abuse, or acting in a sexually aggressive manner towards others.
Normal sexual issues topics for adolescents include: sexually explicit conversations with peers, obscenities and jokes within cultural norm, sexual innuendo, flirting and courtship, interest in erotica, solitary masturbation, hugging, kissing, holding hands, foreplay, (petting, making out, fondling) and mutual masturbation: Moral, social or familial rules may restrict, but these behaviors are not abnormal, developmentally harmful, or illegal when private, consensual, equal, and non-coercive, monogamist intercourse: stable monogamy is defined as a single sexual partner throughout adolescence. Serial monogamy indicates long-term (several months or years) involvement with a single partner which ends and is then followed by another.
When to seek Sexual Issue Counseling
If you believe, that you or your child is struggling with sexual issues that are impairing functioning and/or causing considerable distress, then it may be time to seek help.