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Posts tagged "teens"

“There has been a sort of moral panic – sometimes in Britain and in the U.S. especially – about the influence of pornography on sexual behaviours,” [Hald] says. “And although this study can’t claim to investigate cause and effect, it can still say that there are a lot of other factors that determine sexual behaviours, so maybe we should put the debate into a larger perspective instead of being just one-sided.”

When parents express ongoing resentment toward their adolescent, I take it seriously because of what it often connotes – a lack of adequate returns from the teenager in their relationship at a time when he or she has become increasingly preoccupied with developing a more individual, grown up, and independent sense of Self.

“It’s all give and no get” is how the parental complaint commonly goes. “We do for him, but he does nothing for us! All he thinks about is what matters to him! What about what matters to us? He’s so selfish, that’s the problem!”

Except, what they are charging the adolescent with is not the problem, only a reflection of it. The problem is that parents have not been holding the teenager to adequate two-way account in the relationship and now they are paying the price for their neglect. They have elected to live on his more self-serving, one-way terms and now they’re angry at him for the bad bargain they have made. In their resentment, they conclude that the matter is with him, when in fact it resides with them.

Read the rest here.

Not 100% on board with all of this, but found it generally good, and also appreciated the address of how being concerned with the self and increasing independence from from parents IS part of healthy, essential young adult development.

A new Cornell study has found that casual sexual “hookups” increased a teenager’s odds for clinical-level depression nearly threefold, whereas dating and sexual activity within a committed relationship had no significant impact. The effects held true for boys and girls, though younger teens (13-15 years old) who had so-called “nonromantic sex” faced substantially greater risks for depression. In contrast, dating alone was not linked to depressive symptoms, nor was sexual activity within a stable, committed relationship.
Researchers led by Jane Mendle, assistant professor of human development in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology, said the study provides evidence that “context is key” when trying to understand how teen relationships and sex affect their well-being.
The research is published online in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. “Many historical and media perspectives have presented adolescent sexuality as an indicator of problematic or even socially deviant behavior,” Mendle said. “But this study and other recent findings are showing that’s not the case, and adolescent dating and sexuality can be viewed as normal developmental behavior.”
Using a novel behavioral genetics approach that compares siblings growing up in the same home, Mendle and her co-authors analyzed responses from 1,551 sibling pairs ages 13-18 from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a nationally representative sample of U.S. high school students initiated in the mid-1990s. Among other topics, teens answered questions about their mental health and dating and sexual history. Nearly two-thirds of the sample’s youth had dated, and two-thirds were virgins. By comparing siblings in their study, the authors could control for family and environmental influences that might also raise one’s risk for depression.

Read more at: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-12-casual-teen-sex-linked-higher.html#jCp
Of course, there’s always the sticky wicket of defining what “casual” sex, “romantic” sex or relationships, and “stable, committed” relationships even are for young people when relationships tend to be shorter that for people even just a few years older.  But we can ask these questions and people can do this research while we’re all still trying to figure those parameters out.

As The Hill noted last week, 133 plaintiffs filed a civil suit against Romney’s Utah finance co-chair, Robert Lichfield, and his various business entities involved in residential treatment programs for adolescents. The umbrella group for his organization is the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASPS, sometimes known as WWASP) and Lichfield is its founder and is on its board of directors.

The suit alleges that teens were locked in outdoor dog cages, exercised to exhaustion, deprived of food and sleep, exposed to extreme temperatures without adequate clothing or water, severely beaten, emotionally brutalized, and sexually abused and humiliated. Some were even made to eat their own vomit.

But the link to teen abuse goes far higher up in the Romney campaign. Romney’s national finance co-chair is a man named Mel Sembler. A long time friend of the Bushes, Sembler was campaign finance chair for the Republican party during the first election of George W. Bush, and a major fundraiser for his father.

Like Lichfield, Sembler also founded a nationwide network of treatment programs for troubled youth. Known as Straight Inc., from 1976 to 1993, it variously operated nine programs in seven states. At all of Straight’s facilities, state investigators and/or civil lawsuits documented scores of abuses including teens being beaten, deprived of food and sleep for days, restrained by fellow youth for hours, bound, sexually humiliated, abused and spat upon.

According to the L.A. Times, California investigators said that at Straight teens were “subjected to unusual punishment, infliction of pain, humiliation, intimidation, ridicule, coercion, threats, mental abuse… and interference with daily living functions such as eating, sleeping and toileting.”

Read the rest of this vitally important and utterly underreported issue here.

Teenage girls may prefer the pill, the patch or even wishful thinking, but their doctors should be recommending IUDs or hormonal implants — long-lasting and more effective birth control that you don’t have to remember to use every time, the nation’s leading gynecologists group said Thursday.

The IUD and implants are safe and nearly 100 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, and should be “first-line recommendations,” the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said in updating its guidance for teens.

Read the rest at the Washington Post here.

This is a fantastic sea change: we’re so excited to see the ACOG recommend this. For so long, goof-proof, long-acting contraceptives we know are the most reliable at preventing pregnancy have effectively been kept from young people, with the first-choice recommendation — usually the pill — a method that in studies, has been shown to be far less effective for teens than older people, especially after the first few months of use, primarily because it’s just awfully easy to mess up.

While plenty of doctors have finally let go of the notion that nulliparity (not having been pregnant before) presents an issue with IUDS, some still won’t advise them for younger people due to STI concerns, as mentioned in this article. 

If you find yourself in that situation, ask your doctor to look up the current data.  The scoop on that as of the last few years is that for around just the first three weeks after IUD insertion, contracting an STI is indeed something that could cause serious health concerns.  However, a person can reduce those risks by simply using condoms for that time period, or abstaining from sex altogether. You can let your healthcare provider know that either of those is what you intend to do to limit or eliminate those risks.

(Of course, we think using condoms regularly, for people of any age, is a good idea since STIs are always a possible issue.)

Also, of course: there’s no one best method for any group of people, despite the title of this article.  What method is best for anyone is very individual.  So, ideally, a healthcare provider should tell you about ALL your options, and have a discussion with you, about you, to help figure out which one is best for you. If they’re not doing that?  Consider switching to a clinic or practice that’s specifically focused on sexual and reproductive health.

Excitement, novelty, risk, the company of peers. These traits may seem to add up to nothing more than doing foolish new stuff with friends. Look deeper, however, and you see that these traits that define adolescence make us more adaptive, both as individuals and as a species. That’s doubtless why these traits, broadly defined, seem to show themselves in virtually all human cultures, modern or tribal.
David Dobbs, National Geographic

About two-thirds of U.S. teens and young adults have had oral sex mistakenly thinking it’s a safer alternative to regular intercourse, according to a study released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Research suggests that adolescents perceive fewer health-related risks for oral sex compared with vaginal intercourse," wrote the authors, led by Casey Copen, of the division of vital statistics, for the Atlanta-based CDC. "However, young people, particularly those who have oral sex before their first vaginal intercourse, may still be placing themselves at risk of STIs or HIV before they are ever at risk of pregnancy."

The data, part of the CDC’s “National Health Statistics Reports,” paints a picture of young adults not wholly aware of the ramifications of their actions, with one-quarter of young people having oral sex before vaginal intercourse. It represents the first time the CDC asked about the timing of oral sex relative to regular intercourse, which the authors argued is necessary to help educate young adults about risky behavior.

"I don’t think these numbers are surprising, but I do think that it’s important that this data has been captured at all, because it’s really important to have, and has for a long time been a fuzzy area in our understanding of sexual behavior," Christopher Hurt, a clinical assistant professor in the division of infectious disease, at the University of North Carolina, told USA Today.

While many think oral sex is “risk-free,” Hurt warns the opposite to be true. Diseases like chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea…

Read the rest here.

Note: We’re having some issues with a lot of reporting around this because oral sex usually DOES pose fewer health-related risks than genital intercourse.  It’s not a mistake to think that.  The error in thinking occurs if and when someone assumes that oral sex doesn’t pose any health risks, and that safer sex is a non-issue with oral sex.

This kind of reporting simply stinks of bias towards young people and a seemingly chronic burning desire on the part of the media to present young people as stupid or foolhardy, even when they’re not making foolish assumptions.  The message seems to remain pervasive: even with smarter sexual decisions, teens just can’t seem to win.

… parents and teachers and school districts think, “let’s scare them.” It doesn’t work. Adolescents don’t think about risk taking the same way as adults. If they hear a lot of bad scary news about something, they’re likely to become very overwhelmed. I want my students to realize this is serious to think about, and I know what I need to know to protect myself. The scare tactics don’t do that second part. [Scare] tactics are nothing but manipulation. The older kids get, the more they’re able to spot manipulation. You lose their trust that way.
From an interview with Deborah Roffman about her new book here, which also includes a hearty recommendation of our book as her fave for teens (yay!) and some other choice quotes we like a whole lot.

It’s been a few months now since Heather posted “Back Up Your Birth Control Backup Day” making it crystal clear that, despite some pretty unethical misinformation given to young people seeking it, emergency contraception in the US is totally legal to sell to people 17+ without prescription.

It was few days later over here in the UK that I read a blog-post from a student in London that she had been refused emergency contraception, but not because of her age:

I went to a Boots pharmacy which said on the door come here for emergency contraception. So, I went in and asked and the woman pharmacist told me that due to her religious beliefs she was unable to serve me the morning after pill.

Which had me asking myself what the law actually is in the UK. Despite not having a uterus of my own, I’ve still bought emergency contraception with a partner and would appreciate knowing. After doing a bit of research, and with some help from the wonderful Dr. Petra Boynton, here’s what I found out…

Read the rest at Scarleteen here.