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Why are teenagers so eager to become sexually active? The consequences they may face while trying to act too mature, too soon.


Teenagers are no longer waiting until they are adults to pursue the activities of sexual intercourse. Most teenagers who become sexually active at a young age really do not know most of the consequences that come along with becoming sexually active. That is why there are a myriad of teenage pregnancies and transmitted diseases throughout the young generation because of their lack of information. (JAMA 1) There has to be some way to stop teenagers from becoming sexually active so early before they know what they are really getting themselves into. If we, as a society, can not stop this epidemic, than maybe we can find a solution that will maybe decrease the number of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Some people may ask what is so different with having a baby at a young age now, when our grandparents used to give birth as early as thirteen years old. The truth is there were not as many opportunities as there are for


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women now as supposed to back then, men were the breadwinners of the household and was responsible for taking care and providing for his family. Most women got married at a young age, begun having and raising children as housewives. Now in the present times, there are many more opportunities for women to make something of themselves, so they need not to limit their possibilities while they are still young. Also it takes so much money to raise a child then it would have taken to raise a child decades ago. (UTHealth 6) What society really wants to know is why are teenagers so eager to engage in sexually activities way before they are ready for the responsibility that comes along with that rite of passage?


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There are many dangers and hazards involving teenage sex. The physical hazards include unwanted pregnancies and diseases. Emotional dangers exist as teenagers are often not mature enough for the complexities of these types of relationships. These dangers include the emotional risks caused by pregnancy or the fear of pregnancy; lowered self-esteem; barriers built between children and their parents; the pain of broken relationships; and the stress and inner conflict of dealing with the decision to carry a baby full-term, have an abortion or put a baby up for adoption. Problems such as these can interfere with the ability of young people to succeed in school. It can also lead to teenage suicide and clinical depression. (CQ Researcher 441)


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Many teenagers became sexually active for all the wrong reasons. Some became active because they were not getting enough love at home, so they feel that they will be loved if they have sex with that “special” someone. Girls have the tendency to flock to older guys because their fathers were not there for them when they were growing up. Also many, many teens succumb to the worst type of pressure there is, the pressure of their peers. Peer pressure can be very intimidating to teens that are not really confident and comfortable with their selves. It comes from everywhere... advertising, friends, movies, television, shows, songs, and books. (JAMA 14)


BE POPULAR


BE PART OF THE IN-CROWD


BE A MAN / BE A WOMAN


EVERYBODYS DOING IT


SEX IS FUN


IF IT FEELS GOOD, DO IT


BUT stop and think. Will having sex really make you more popular, more mature, or more desirable? Probably not, in fact, having sex may even cause your partner to lose interest. The one sure thing about having sex is that you may be in for problems you dont know how to handle. The number one reason that most teenagers fall victim to becoming sexually active is their partner at the time. It is basically a psychological test for your partner to say, “If you care about me, you will express your feelings for me.” This is


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nothing but a mind game to test the weak, which is why you must stand for what you believe in no matter what how you think the other person will feel. (LA Times E1)


Many teenagers really do not receive the proper knowledge about sex. Sexual education for teenagers is really looked down because some people think that this will encourage the teenagers to engage in sexual intercourse at an early age or increase their sexual activity. The truth is in programs that provide information about both contraception and abstinence; evaluators have found no increase in sexual activity. Indeed, some programs that include information on contraception were found to delay initiation of sexual activity. A review of 47 diverse programs found that sex education not only tended to delay the onset of sexual activity, but it also appeared to reduce the number of sexual partners, the number of unplanned pregnancies, and the rates of sexually transmitted diseases. (LA Times E) Young people should have accurate information about human sexuality, pregnancy, childbirth, parenthood, contraception, abortion, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Students receive a variety of invalid information from their peers that they take as fact. Misconceptions such as the erroneous idea that a girl cannot get pregnant if the couple has intercourse standing up could be cleared up. Classes that inform students about issues prevalent to sex help children differentiate between fact and fiction. Many feel these classes should be offered at school. Among the many misconceptions is the common assumption that there is a


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safe sex. There is no foolproof way to have sex; the only fully safe sex is abstinence. There is only safer sex. (Lieberman 16)


Adults who try to protect their children from the information that they need to make responsible sexual decisions simply push sexually active adolescents toward irresponsible sex. Talking about sexual issues openly encourages responsibility. Timely, effective sex education � rather than too little information given too late � helps to postpone first sexual intercourse, helps prevent pregnancy and sexual diseases when sexual activity does begin, and develops increased respect for ones self and others. There is no question of whether your children will receive information about sex, the only question is how. An informal sex education from peers and the media is riddled with confusion and misinformation. With effective sexual education from home and school, adolescents can be provided with factual information to make wise decisions about their behavior. This is not a myth. (JAMA 1)


According to When Teens Have Sex, roughly 40 percent of American girls in their teen years become pregnant before age 0. Moreover, the one million pregnancies that occur each year among women ages 15 to 1 result in nearly 500,000 teen births - a serious economic and social challenge for the United States. The U.S. has the highest teen birth rate among developed nations, said KIDS COUNT Program Coordinator William OHare. The next closest, the United Kingdom, has a teen birth rate that is only about half that of America. The problem of teen births is evident in every state. In fact,


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every U.S. state has a birth rate that is higher than that of the United Kingdom. (Moore 1)


The report notes that despite recent downward trends, the teen birth rate in 16 was still higher than it was a decade earlier, and that demographic trends suggest that the number of births to teens is likely to increase by as much as 14 percent by the year 005. As the children of the baby boomlet swell the ranks of American teenagers over the next few years, the absolute number of babies born to teenagers is likely to increase even if the birth rate remains constant, said OHare. (Moore 0)


The report states that more than 75 percent of all unmarried teen mothers went on welfare within five years of the birth of their first child. In addition, the report notes that in 16, the poverty rate for children born to teens was 4 percent, twice the overall rate for children. We cannot afford to take the issue of teen pregnancy lightly. Children born to teenage parents are more likely to be of low birth rate, to suffer with inadequate health care, to leave high school without graduating and are more likely to be poor, thus perpetuating a cycle of unrealized potential, said Annie E. Casey Plain Talk Program Director Debra Delgado. (Whitehead 7)


Not all concerns about teenagers having sex relate to premature childbearing. Each year, more than million teens contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD), accounting for about one-fourth of the 1 million Americans infected annually.


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Adolescents are at high risk for many of these infections because they are more likely to engage in unprotected sex and to have multiple partners over brief periods of time. And some teens are pressured into having sex without being able to protect themselves. These factors increase the likelihood that a sexually active teen will have sex with someone who is already infected with an STD. Because teens are less likely to be insured or to have a regular source of primary care, they often experience significant delays in screening, diagnosis, and treatment, leading to medical complications that would otherwise be avoidable. (Leahy 1A)


It is estimated that one-fourth of all new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases each year occur in people ages 1 to 1, that half are among people under the age of 5, and that the majority of these infections are transmitted sexually. Other sexually transmitted viral infections that are prevalent among adolescents include the human papilloma virus, associated with the vast majority of cases of cervical dysphasia (a pre-cancerous condition of the cervix that affects over .5 million American women), and hepatitis B virus, which increases the risk of cirrhosis and cancer of the liver. (Whitehead 6)


Adolescent women are also highly vulnerable to chlamydia and gonorrhea. While the target gonorrhea rate established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is 5 per 100,000 people, the national rate for females ages 15 to 1 in 16 was 6. And in some urban areas, the rate among adolescent females has ranged as high as 6,000 for more than a decade. In 16, the national rate of chlamydia per 100,000


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females ages 15 to 1 was 1,4. Chlamydia is probably the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. Together with gonorrhea, chlamydia is a leading cause of pelvic inflammatory disease and a common cause of infertility, entopic pregnancy, and fetal complications, including premature birth. (Whitehead 5)


The rates and numbers of teen pregnancies and births in the United States are cause for alarm, even with the recent dips. But it is the human and social costs of teen pregnancy and parenting that are most compelling. Premature parenthood is more than a -month interruption in a youths life. Rather, it can further complicate a life that is already deficient in promise, hope, and dreams for the future. (Leahy A)


A young woman who has a child before graduating from high school is less likely to complete school than a young woman who does not have a child. About 64 percent of teen mothers graduated from high school or earned a GED within years after they would have graduated compared with about 4 percent of teenage women who did not give birth. The failure to go further in school can limit the mothers employment options and increase the likelihood that she and her family will be poor. And the roughly one-fifth of adolescent moms who have more than one child are even more economically vulnerable. They might further delay finishing high school, putting them at greater risk of being slotted into low-wage jobs or of facing prolonged unemployment, poverty, and welfare. (Ravoira 5)


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For many teens, those risks are already high, and childbirth merely propels them further along a well-traveled path. Thats because teens that give birth are more likely to come from disadvantaged family situations in which their life chances are already limited. While teen pregnancy touches all levels of our society, teens that give birth are more likely to come from economically disadvantaged families and communities, to be poor academic achievers with low aspirations, and to be coping with substance abuse and behavioral problems. Teen moms are also more likely to have mothers who completed fewer years of schooling and to have mothers or older sisters who also gave birth as adolescents. (Ravoira 60)


Nearly 80 percent of teen mothers eventually go on welfare. According to Child Trends, more than 75 percent of all unmarried teen mothers went on welfare within 5 years of the birth of their first child. In fact, some 55 percent of all mothers on welfare were teenagers at the time their first child was born. (Ravoira 61)


The consequences of early parenthood for teen fathers are generally not as severe as those for teen mothers, even though teen fathers are more likely to engage in delinquent behaviors and to use alcohol routinely, deal drugs, or quit school. Among married men studied by researchers in Kids Having Kids, those who were teen fathers had the least schooling. Also, researchers calculated that the fathers of children born to teen mothers earned an estimated average of $,400 less a year than the fathers of children born to mothers who were 0 or 1, over the 18 years following the birth of their first child. (UTHealth 7)


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Taken as a whole, society has to view the dangerous consequences of teenage sexual activity as an ongoing challenge. We should want to protect our teenagers from the risk of premature parenthood and from disease, and we should want to protect the children they would struggle to raise. If we are serious about breaking the cycles of poverty and underachievement that, too often, result from kids having kids, then we must not be satisfied with the recent downward trends, and we must expand our efforts to help those teens who are at greatest risk. Rather than becoming complacent because of the recent downturn, we must be more aggressive in implementing the positive lessons that contributed to it and redouble our efforts to cut the teen birth rate even more significantly. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy suggests a sensible goal of reducing the teen pregnancy rate by one-third between 15 and the year 005. (LA Times E)


In conclusion, I believe that no one but the teenagers can prevent this adolescent sexual behavior from climbing the charts any higher than it already is. Young adults hear all the time that they should wait until they are married before they engage in sexual intercourse, but as you can see and hear that is not happening. So maybe society needs to encourage sexual education to be given to children when they become pre-teens, that way by the time they think they are ready for sex, they will have the knowledge to handle the situation with the right actions. This way there might not be so many teens with diseases and unwanted pregnancies. Sexual intercourse is often looked about as a sin if you have it before marriage. Maybe if people would just recognize and accept that teenagers are


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going to have sex at a young age, then maybe teens would talk to their family without the fear of being looked down upon. Some parents think that if they don’t talk about this uneasy subject with their children, then they won’t know about and they won’t have it. But the reality is that those uneducated teens are becoming the statistics for these graphs and charts because they weren’t taught to take care of themselves. To those few who don’t want to accept that this is becoming a nation wide epidemic, at least open your minds to the changing times and lend your support so we as a country can educate teenagers of the truth about sex and everything that comes along with the territory.


Anderson, John A. “The Price of Life.” UTHealth Magazine 6 September 00 6-8


Clark, Charles S. “Teenagers and Abortion.” CQ Researcher Vol. 4, no. , 441


Leahy, Michael “Seeking Respect, Finding Trouble” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 0 March 14 1A-A


Lieberman, Susan Venus in Blue Jeans Why Mothers and Daughters Need to Talk About Sex. New York Dell, 1 15-18


Moore, Kristin A. Beginning too soon adolescent sexual behavior, pregnancy, and parenthood. Los Angeles Penguin, 17 0-


National Longitudinal Study “Protecting Adolescents from Harm.” JAMA


10 September 18 1-15


Ravoira, LaWanda Social bonds and teen pregnancy. New York Praeger, 1 58-6


Roan, Shari. “Are We Teaching Too Little, Too Late?” Los Angeles Times


1 July 15 E1-E


Whitehead, Barbara Dafoe “The Failure of Sex Education” The Atlantic Monthly 10 October 14 5-7


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