teen relationships and sexuality

I read an interesting article today, Solving America’s teen sex problem. It talks about how the Dutch handle the issue of teen relationships and sexuality. The Dutch have comparably low numbers of adolescent pregnancy, abortions and STD’s and begins…

When 16-year-old Natalie first started dating her boyfriend, her mother did something that would mortify most American parents: She took her to the doctor’s office to get her contraceptives. Her mother wasn’t weirded out by the fact that her teen daughter was about to have sex — in fact, she fully supported it. She merely wanted to make sure that she was doing it safely, and responsibly. A couple of months later, when it finally happened, her parents were totally accepting. As her father put it, “sixteen is a beautiful age” to lose your virginity.

It got me wondering (not for the first time)… why are we so duplicitous around the subject of sexuality here in the States? And can anyone intelligently argue that being so has served our youth… or our society as a whole?

I heard someone say, in response to the father’s statement above, “…“sixteen is a beautiful age” to lose your virginity.” that most American parents would cringe at this statement. I’m not placing any bets here because I, frankly, don’t know most American parents… yet I suspect quite a few would have some bit of disagreement with this.

But why? What is this big deal we make about virginity when we don’t provide any meaningful guidance to our youth? You see, if virginity ‘means’ something… then the sexual experience that transitions you from that state to another must be equally meaningful… yes? So why not talk about it. Celebrate it. Treat it with the honor and respect granted to all of life’s great pleasures?

The quote above came from one of dozens of Dutch families interviewed by Amy T. Schalet, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts, in her new book, Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex

I highly recommend the book…  After all, Dutch parents approach has fostered closer relationships between teenagers and their parents, and helped make teenagers’ first times far more pleasurable. “Not Under My Roof” is a startling wake-up call about America’s largely misguided attitudes toward sex and growing up.

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