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Friday, October 12, 2012

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Imagine a 15-year-old girl who thinks she might be
pregnant. This was her first sexual experience. It
was unplanned. It was even unwanted, but now she
thinks she may be pregnant and she doesn't know
what to do.

Now imagine another 15-year-old girl who is on her
sixth partner this year. She's been lucky; she has
not got pregnant. She's thinking of getting tested
for STDs. She may be regretting her choices,
maybe not.

What is the difference between their motivations
and ours? There is really very little difference. The
reality is that these girls are simply acting, to the
best of their ability, to find a lover of their soul.

We are relational beings. We desire to know and be
known. We crave intimacy. We all want to be loved,
recognised and accepted.

Teenagers are also looking for acceptance and
recognition, and without knowing it, they are
looking for the lovers of their souls. They are going
about it as they assume they must from the
messages they are given from our culture. Sex is
everywhere: TV, music, movies. Kids talk about it
all the time. The casual way in which it is discussed
gives you a clue as to how it is approached. Many of
the ways sex is acted out among teenagers would
shock you.

What we see are girls trying to fulfil relationship
and intimacy needs as well as the need for
recognition and acceptance with sex. They are
looking for power and equality but do not realise
that that is exactly what they are giving away.

Why do you think teenagers have sex? These are
the reasons they give: boredom, nothing else to do,
a way to pass the time, hormones, bragging right,
goal setting, peer pressure, pressure from partner,
curiosity, to get it over with, and sometimes, "they
think they're in love."

They talk about sex, yet what they are most
interested in is relationship skills. Most girls want
to know how to tell a guy, "no" without hurting his
feelings. They also want to know how to deal with
the pain of a break-up (because they know a break-
up is inevitable).

But most teenagers are verbally sexually active,
meaning they talk about sex as if they are
participants. And recent studies show that 13-year-
olds are physically sexually active.

This is not only true of the unchurched crowd. At
the Calgary Pregnancy Care Centre, we see girls
from the churches. And there are many we do not
see. These girls take care of their unwanted
pregnancy quickly and quietly so no one else will
know. It is their big secret. Many times it is kept
from their parents and even their friends. Secrets
like that can be very painful and divisive, and can
follow generation after generation.

Many girls are desperate for love. They feel they
don't have the option to say, "no." And with today's
society so focused on sex and many girls so willing
to accommodate boys' requests, they may be right.
To refuse to "put out" is to lose the relationship,
and with the girls so desiring of relationship they
feel to "put out" is their only option.

Sex has lost its sacredness and beauty and has
become recreational and casual. It's gone from
being the culminating act of a loving commitment
to a precondition, a tryout, for future involvement.

There is a frequent complaint that boys rarely ask
girls out anymore. Instead they go to parties, drink,
pair off and if the mood suits, have sex. Young
women who feel as sexually free as it is possible to
feel are still powerless. Girls like boys boast of their
sexual experience, but are aware that their
reputation have been badly damaged and that the
boys lose respect for them.

Some girls meet their intimacy needs by creating
their own families. They aren't meeting it through
sex. Sex is just the vehicle. They are using men to
have children, and are creating their own "family"
so they can love, be loved and be needed. They are
creating their own "community."

Then there is the gang community. When a girl
joins a gang, especially in school, she is treated as
the lowest on the totem pole. They have to be
accountable to the gang and follow the rules. These
rules are not for their own good as they would be in
a family, but the girls join anyway. For attention
and acceptance, these girls find they need to be
down and dirty. They laugh at the same jokes, even
the sexually degrading ones, and treat sex as a
recreation, a conquest, not as an emotional

If you are a parent of a teenagers, what can you do
to help them make wise choices about their

Let them know your expectation of them in the
area of sexuality. Be very clear about your own
values and attitudes. Set definite boundaries for
them in the areas of dating and weekend activities.
Make them accountable to you as to their
whereabouts and activities. Sometimes a lack of
opportunity is all the help they need.

Help them see the discrepancies between the
media and real life. Use time spent together
watching TV or movies to facilitate a discussion on
sex and dating.

Learn to listen. Start communicating early and
often. Keep discussion open; don't over or under
explain. Avoid lecture format. Show them what
good, responsible relationships should be. • I would
like to acknowledge Danielle Crittenden's book,
What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us, as the source of
much of the information in this section.

Written by Jill Kulhawy, BN.

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