Recent research suggests that girls ages 12 – 13 who have strong self concept, have not tried smoking and are not overweight are less likely to have sexual intercourse by the age 14 or 15. On the other hand, young boys who have tried smoking, have a poor relationship with parents and live in a low-income household at the age of 12 – 13 are more likely to be having sexual intercourse by the age 14 – 15. It appears that young boys are influenced more by social factors while young girls are influenced by personal and individual factors, and are more likely to be in situations in which they feel pressured into having sex with older boys. Since the factors differ so greatly between boys and girls, it is imperative that each receives sexual education appropriate to their needs.
Unfortunately, some believe that appropriate sexual education consists of telling teens to wait until they are older before having sex, and to use condoms if they must do so sooner. But how motivating is it to hear “no?” The last time someone told you no, was there a part of you that felt like saying, “Who are you to tell me what I can and can’t do?” Studies have shown consistently that abstinence education does not work. It seems that we are seeing proof that instilling confidence in our youth will go a long way to helping them become positively sexually empowered to make the choices that will benefit them. Let the education begin!