SEX: Tough Questions, Smart Answers

BOSE, 15 sat at the end of a table in the crowded dining hall, listening to her classmate Ronke talking. She said her boyfriend’s parents were going to be out of the house that night and she was going over there. They were planning to have sex for the first time. The conversation made Ronke think. She and her boyfriend, Paul, had been going out for about two months now and they hadn’t yet talked about sex. Kissing and petting were as far as they had gone. She was sure that the subject would come up soon but didn’t know what she would do. On one hand, she thought she loved Paul and it would be wonderful to be that close to him. On the other hand she wasn’t sure if she was really ready to have sex yet. What would she do?

Firstly she should realize that sexuality is as natural as growing taller, it’s a process that begins when you are a child and continues through adulthood. Once you’ve fully developed sexually, a close friendship with another person can be a wonderful experience.

Whether or not to have sex with your partner is an extremely important decision to make. While sex and your interest in it are completely natural, it’s not something you should act upon on an impulse. It’s not something you should act upon on an impulse. Sexual activity should be very intimate and special. When you do decide to have sex, it should make you feel good about yourself, your partner and your relationship. If you are not sure or not completely ready to accept the responsibilities that a sexual relationship requires, then you should choose to abstain from sex.

Your feelings about sex may include fear, doubt, guilt and even disappointment. Before you decide that being sexually active is right for you, here are a few questions you should ponder over.

Q. It seems like everyone my age is having sex. Are they?

A. True enough, statistics show that 50% of secondary school girls have had sex a least once. Now that looked like a lot of people! But have you ever looked at it this way that 50% have chosen not to have sex!

Then why does it seem like everybody you know is having sexual intercourse? Most times it’s because some teens need to exaggerate their sexual experience when talking to each other. You probably know people who claimed they ‘did it’ just to impress someone or to fit in with the crowd. “There are more lies told about sex than any other subject. Research shows that those who boast about sex especially boys are almost always lying.

Q. Even if half of today’s teenagers are abstaining, sex is still supposed to be great, so why should I wait?

A. Sexual intercourse, with a loving person and at the right time in your life, can be a wonderful thing for couples who are committed to each other. Sex is an important and integral part of a relationship; a time when you can show love for your partner, give each other pleasure and strengthen the ties that keep you together.

But intercourse with an uncaring person, without a proper understanding of what sex is all about and at the wrong time in ones life can be disastrous. To start, there is the risk of diseases. For instance, the number of sexually active teens contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is increasing rapidly. AIDS is now the leading cause of death among 15 – 24 year olds. Those who have sex also put themselves at risk of Chlamydia, syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases. There are other risks too, like pregnancy. Every year, about one million teenagers in Nigeria get pregnant. While many teens who get pregnant know the risks before having sex, most of them refuse to believe anything could happen to them. “I knew what could happen if I had sex without birth control, I just didn’t think it could happen to me” says Nkechi a 17 – year old mother!

Q. Are there any other risks of having sex?

A. Yes one of the things that made sex an important part of an adult relationship is that its emotional as well as physical act. Sometimes, younger inexperienced people forget or don’t understand that, and what was hoped to be a great experience becomes a painful one. Some teens choose to have sex because they think it would bring them emotionally closer to their partner. Kehinde says, after going out with John for four months, I decided to have sex with him. He broke up with me four days later, it was awful. He used to say he loved me and then afterwards, he stopped saying it.

Q. What should I do if I am not ready to have sex, but my partner keeps pressuring me?

A. A lot of times, teens talk each other into having sex. If you don’t think you are ready, the best thing to do is say “NO”. It is very important to make yourself clear, a person who cares about you will understand. Remember, sex is not a test of love. One of the most common lines is, “if you really love me, you would have sex with me.” The best response for this is “if you really love me, you would not pressure me.”

Q. Are there other things I can do to show my feelings for someone?

A. There are plenty of ways to show you care and to feel close without having sexual intercourse. Hugging, touching, kissing, touching – are good ways to express yourself romantically without all the risks and consequences that go along with sexual intercourse.

Q. How does a person know when he/she is ready to have sex?

A. Unfortunately, there is no single way to know when you are ready for a sexual relationship. Bells don’t ring, and there is no official age that gives you the right to have sexual intercourse. Instead, it’s a matter of knowing yourself and whether you are ready to handle the responsibilities that go along with sex (pregnancy, STDs). If you are not sure you understand sex and its consequences, you will be better off if you waited.

The most important thing to remember is that only you can say when you are ready.

Whether or not to have sex is an important decision, one that could affect the rest of your life. “If you don’t have sex, it may seem a lot like a lot of people are looking down on you, but in the long run, most end up respecting you.”

This article was written by Adetola Bhadmus with reference to Straight Talk Magazine. Vol. 1 No. 4

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