I woke up this morning with wicked stuffed sinuses and headed to the gym to try and run from the sickness. My mode today is sloth and I stepped on the treadmill just in time for midday trash TV. Nestled in between CNN and Martha Stewart was Maury Povich and his headline scare topic of the day was teen sex parties. Sorry, make that, TEEN SEX PARTIES: AN ALARMING NEW TREND.
This is not new and endemic to the current generation. You can bet that many grandparents spent more than one gin-soaked night at a teen petting party. And you can bet that adults are having sex parties right now, possibly next door.
In a time so shaken by violence and economic instability why must the Maurys of the world stoke anxieties with unfounded worry over alleged Rainbow Parties? As a culture, we have big issues with teenagers having sex. I am here to tell you: stop worrying. At least about the act of sex. Their knowledge base and contraception access are things you should worry about.
I understand why we worry. They don’t fully think about consequences, they could get pregnant before they’re ready, they could get an STD. These are all potentially true but both avoidable and not as dire as people imagine.
The expert on Maury threw in the little chestnut about 1 in 4 teens having a sexually transmitted disease, even though it was only tangentially related to sex parties. The real statistic is 1 in 4 females between the ages of 14 and 19 (a range that includes legal adults) have a sexually transmitted infection, most of which are curable.
My hunch about age disparities in curable STI rates is that if you get the clap as a teen or young adult you learn your lesson and are more careful. I would prefer lower rates of STIs but until we have better sex information with equal access, many generations to come will learn that lesson the hard way.
The problem is not that any teens are having sex (parties) but that they engage in sexual activity without knowledge and protection. Thinking that teen sex equals teen STIs is a complete logical fallacy. Unprotected teen sex can lead to STIs and pregnancy.
So, let’s focus more on keeping calm and ensuring future generations understand the importance of protection before visiting a clinic for their itchy crotch.