Teenage sexual health, although not a topic that many kids this age want to discuss with adults, is a very important issue. These are very formative years, and the habits learned during the teenage years can often stay with a person for a lifetime. Some of the most important issues regarding teen sexual health include physical body changes and sex education.
During and after puberty, teenagers will begin to notice myriad physical changes. Boys, for instance, will often begin to grow facial hair, and their penises will typically grow to be a little larger. Girls, on the other hand, will typically notice that their breasts become larger, and they will begin to have monthly menstrual periods. These physical changes are caused primarily by hormones.
These hormones are also partially responsible for the increased interest in having sex. When it comes to teenage sexual health, having sex is one of the biggest issues. Teenagers should be educated about sex in general as well as the risks and consequences of it. Most schools in the United States have some sort of sex education program. While teaching teenagers about sex may be a controversial topic to some, it is often necessary to help prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies.
The subject of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is common in many classes that teach about teenage sexual health. Certain STDs, such as chlamydia, can cause infertility, if not treated properly. Others, such as AIDS, can be fatal. Teenagers who suspect they may have contracted an STD can often seek help from a sexual health clinic. These clinics offer a number of sexual health services, from STD testing to contraception.
Contraception, or pregnancy prevention, is also another important teenage sexual health issue. Teenagers who are not properly educated regarding the consequences of sex are much more likely to experience an unplanned pregnancy. Some sexual health clinics and even some school nurses offer free condoms to sexually active teenagers. Latex condoms are often considered to be one of the best ways to prevent STDs and unplanned pregnancies, second only to abstinence.
Some individuals believe that teaching teenagers about sex and handing out free contraceptives will only cause them to have sex earlier. On the other hand, some individuals stand by the belief that teenagers will have sex with or without sex ed and contraception. Many health experts, however, believe that providing education about certain teenage sexual health issues early can lead to lower rates of STDs and unplanned pregnancies in teens.