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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Essay on Birth Control and Sexual Abstinence




A Closer Look on the Effects of Promoting Abstinence and Birth Control to Teens

Should U.S. schools educate students about birth control, or promote sexual abstinence instead?
 
Abstinence is defined as the act of abstaining from sexual intercourse. This is being taught to many teenagers to protect them from unwanted pregnancies, which has escalated at an alarming rate over the past decade (Males, 2010). The number of young adults with sexually transmitted diseases also increases, making the issue on pre-marital sex one of the debates in the society. In many countries, teenagers are being given sex education with an emphasis on abstinence to lessen the rate of early and unwanted pregnancies.

There are a lot of reasons why teens are encouraged to be abstinent until they are married. Aside from unwanted pregnancy and the idea that pre-marital sex is morally wrong, sexual intercourse even before marriage may also cause them diseases like STD and HIV AIDS. Education on abstinence does not focus on information about different methods of birth control because those who promote abstinence believe that this technique is already effective in discouraging the youth to engage in pre-marital sex.

On the other hand, many people disagree. Those who oppose the promotion of abstinence believe that there is no guarantee that teens will engage in pre-marital sex even if they say that they won’t. Many of the young adults have in fact started to experiment with sex at younger ages. Further, by telling the teens to be abstinent would only make them more curious and interested to have sex.

By educating the youth about birth control, they become aware of the options that are available if they will choose to have sexual intercourse. The youth will be able to learn about the different methods of preventing pregnancy and even provided with lots of information about their possible choices. Abstinence education, on the other hand, does not involve information on contraception. Teens, in abstinence education, are spared the emotional and psychological trauma that comes with unwanted pregnancy. Young girls who became pregnant at a very young age affirm the unhappiness, regret, and depression incurred during and after the pregnancy. 

Indeed, both ways of saving the teens from having kids at a very young age and getting diseases from engaging in pre-marital sex have advantages and disadvantages. But looking at the bigger picture, one could say that the evolution of the world in terms of technology, fashion, and other trends affect this societal problem. Every day, teenagers see hundreds of product advertisements on television, magazines, and billboards that convey sexual messages. They see movies or television show with people doing or even depicting sex, making them more aware and interested about it.

Even though dispositions towards media may vary, research shows that the media portrayal of sex influence the young audience’s perceptions on sexual activities (Gunter, 2002). Sex is used to sell products and portrayed as a way to attain a status in the group or society. The teen idols are even portrayed as objects for sexual pleasure. The products being sold in the market are associated with sex. With all these around, adolescent find it hard to get away from it. Teens that are exposed to sex through the mainstream media are absolutely more likely to engage in sexual activity (Jones, 2006). 
Helping young adults to avoid unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases will be a shared responsibility of parents, peers, school, and society. Teens can only be encouraged to be abstinent if they are not exposed to a lot of information from media and community that these teens belong to. But with availability of sources on sexual information, teens must also be taught the importance of birth control. This important information is not meant to encourage them to engage to pre-marital sex but rather help them to have an informed choice.

References
Gunter, B. (2002). Media Sex: What Are The Issues? USA: Routledge
Jones, S. (2006). Media Influence on Adolescent Sex. Retrieved Jan 14, 2012 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2006/mar/22/pressandpublishing.broadcasting
Males, M. (2010). Teenage Sex and Pregnancy: Modern Myths, Unsexy Realities. USA: ABC-CLIO


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