Sex, pregnancy and a confused culture

Cosmogirl_aug06_1An article in the Sunday Times last weekend caught my attention, against the general national discussion and/or handwringing about teenage pregnancy. “Too much too young?” picked up on some recent research which reveals that having a baby whilst still a teenager can often be a deliberate choice, even if in some cases it is still an accidental byproduct of recreational sex. Even if becoming pregnant is a bit of an accident, having a baby is a conscious decision. For those of us that work regularly with young people, this may not seem like particularly groundbreaking news, but it suggests that the simplistic target of ‘reducing teenage pregnancies’ may, in some cases, be up against the maternal desire of young people who, 150 years ago, were mothers at the same age.

Then one of my team came into the office this morning having spotted in the newsagent the August edition of Cosmo Girl with the article “First time sex! Teens who’ve done it tell you everything.” How much readers (target age 13-17) will actually learn is a moot point, but it continues to endorse the impression of normality in early sex.

Finally, Ian Macdonald, Youth Adviser for the Oxford Diocese and the author behind Youthblog, posted on Tuesday about Teenage pregnancy and the Government’s new strategic plan. He annotates each of the four basic themes with a range of positive suggestions for improvement.

Through PSHE lessons and pastoral work with young people we’re doing what we can. To be honest, I feel a bit overwhelmed by the task. And I don’t see society being changed in any kind of hurry. But I hope we can make a difference – one life at a time.

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4 Responses to Sex, pregnancy and a confused culture

  1. philjohnson says:

    Tim
    There is an interesting post by John Smulo concerning the difficulties faced by younger women who become addicted to watching pornography.
    John draws attention to a frank “confession” from a young woman (raised in a preacher’s family) who became addicted to Internet porn as a teenager.
    John’s note on this story is at
    http://johnsmulo.typepad.com/smulospace/2006/07/addicted_to_por.html

  2. Sally says:

    It is a huge topic Tim, and not one that is easy to tackle, I meet Christian young people who are confused about whether sex before marriage is an ok expression of their love for one another, this is largely due to a rejection of what they see of middle class values invading the churches teaching.
    Their faith is real but they are questioning what we might call a committed relationship, so many marriages end in divorce, and so many seemingly squeaky claen Christians end up with egg on their faces, the reaction seems to be not a blase why not but a thought through response and reaction to what they see as love I’m talking 18-25’s here… but surely this could simply be the first step on a downward spiral… or do they have a point- tough questions for a post-modern generation!

  3. Matt Stone says:

    The other side of the coin is of course the social pressures on males to have sex early. I remember when I was young having your first sexual experience was considered a rite of passage within my peer group. You were not really a man till you had done it (note I did not become a Christian till 24). With all the hand wringing from Christians the obvious question that arises for me is, what alternative rites of passage into adulthood is the church providing for teenagers?

  4. sally says:

    ah now rites of passage are something we must re-visit Matt- we are good at marking the hatch match and dispatches, but there are so many inbetween milestones that should be celebrated.
    this is something I have posted on a few times

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