The Consequences They Don’t Talk About

The+Consequences+They+Don%27t+Talk+About

Brianna O'Callaghan, Reporter

Sex ed can be an embarrassing lesson to sit through, especially being a teenager fresh into high school or junior high. Though a lot of the curriculum covers what many teenagers already know, there are some consequences that students don’t think about.

Schools and districts all over Texas teach sex education in a specific manner. One can’t get pregnant or an STD if they abstain from sex, right? That’s correct, but aside from diseases and 16-year-old moms, there are a lot of other consequences to consider, particularly the emotional tolls. 

“I think it is important to talk about it,” nurse Ms. Kerr said. “Hopefully it’s your parents you’re talking to, but not everybody can. There’s just a lot going on that can tie into that besides that actual act of sex like STD’s and unplanned pregnancies, all things kids are not equipped to handle. Kids’ brains are not developed yet, and they’re just making these really big decisions.”

When teenagers open up with trusted adults about these difficult topics, they can reduce the amount of missing knowledge and hopefully, understand the emotional aspects of sex. 

“I have my parents as trusted adults whom I can talk to about sex,” senior Julia Daniels said. “Obviously they don’t really want me to be having it, but they understand that my decisions are my decisions, and they just want to make sure that I am safe and that I am respecting my body.”

These effects of having sex as a teen can be especially difficult for girls according to a study done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The 2011-2015 study showed a large percentage of teenage girls having sex with partners they were “going steady” with. 13% of girls were having sex with partners they were “just friends” with. 

“I’ve seen so many girls just get so hurt by this expectation of ‘I slept with him, and I really like him, but he’s sleeping with someone else,’” counselor Mrs. Deal said. “And I would venture to guess that if I were a boy, I’d say the exact same thing. That connection is just so harsh. And to me sex is special, it should be special.”

A study from a Harvard Graduate School of Education project titled “Making Caring Common” found that 87% of female freshmen in college “experienced some form of sexual harassment.” Of those, 76% had never spoken to their parents about avoiding sexual assault. 

“It is very important that both male and female understand consent, explicitly,” Kerr said. “I think that should be before you even think about sex.”

Abstinence-only teachings are required in Texas if schools choose to teach it in an effort to prevent teen pregnancies and STDs. But this one-sided approach can leave teens in the dark on what they should do if they choose to have sex. 

“Abstinence should be stressed, but I think parents should have an ‘in case you do’ part in which they speak about protection,” senior Brandyn Lovett said. “If they string that leash around their necks while only knowing about the abstinence part of sex, a parent might just end up with a young expecting couple on their hands because they were never taught about the other part of sex.”

Movies like The Breakfast Club and Can’t Buy Me Love will show that being sexually active is reserved for the “jocks” and “popular kids,” but in today’s society, this is far from the truth. 

“A lot of kids in the top 10% or even 5% date and are sexually active,” Daniels said. “Shy kids are sexually active, and so are awkward kids. Some of the most outgoing people I know have never even dated anyone. It’s so much more complicated than a binary or even a sliding scale between the two ‘types.’”

Teenagers are already struggling with their GPA, classes, and social lives not including the worries that sex and dating bring. Overall, teenagers are making serious, adult decisions that impact their life. 

“Before you can even get to the diseases and pregnancy, are you ready,” Deal said. “Are you ready for what sex brings between you and another person?”

All-in-all, sex is an uncomfortable topic, but once teenagers break through the barriers of those difficult conversations, they will become more knowledgeable in their decision-making.