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Teenagers and Sex

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The teenage years mark a time when the body undergoes numerous changes – physically, emotionally and It is a time when the body is growing and hormones are adjusting to adulthood, so teenagers become increasingly interested in the opposite sex, wanting to sample various activities more independently than before.
  • 50-70% of people who suffer from genital warts received the condition through sexual contact.
  • There are no forms of birth control that are 100% effective. Hence, engaging in sexual intercourse should be done so with consent, at the right age and at a suitable time, while it is best if both parties are also aware of how to protect themselves.

 

Teenagers and Sex

Adolescence, which people often refer to as the teenage years, is between 10-20 years of age for females and a little later at around 12-22 for males. The teenage years mark a stage during which the body is going through massive changes, including physical, emotional, mental and societal aspects. Teenagers will often feel like they are stuck in the middle, between childhood and adulthood, growing rapidly and going through hormonal adjustments as they enter the reproductive stage of their lives. This is what causes them to become more interested in the opposite sex, wanting to experience new and exciting activities independently.

Nowadays, unwanted pregnancies in young people are a serious issue, as is the increasing prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases, since this is a stage during which youngsters find it hard to control themselves. They are often oblivious to the future consequences of their actions and do not take the necessary precautions. Nevertheless, there are techniques available that can reduce the risks and help young people with advice for engaging in safe sex. All that is asked is for teenagers to learn and understand the best way to protect themselves.

Sexually transmitted diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) refer to health disorders passed from one person to another via sexual intercourse. There are a myriad of sexually transmitted diseases that teenagers should be aware of. Otherwise they could be placing themselves at risk of contagious diseases that could have potentially life-threatening consequences. Some of the diseases are:

  • AIDS (HIV) or autoimmune deficiency
  • Chlamydia or “the clap”: This inflammation of the urethra causes a non-gonorrheal infection, including swelling of the lymphatic nodes located in the groin.
  • Trichomoniasis or “trich” is a bacterial infection of the genitals which is usually restricted to the inside of the vagina but can also thrive in the male urethra. This condition is usually asymptomatic in women but some may experience a whitish yellow, foamy discharge alongside vaginal itching. It also tends to be symptomless for males, though it could lead to a stinging sensation when urinating.
  • Gonorrhea is the result of a bacterial infection called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. This infection is specific to mucous membranes found in the urethra, vagina, cervix, uterine lining, ovarian tubes, anus, eyes, mouth and throat.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) occurs as a result of a common viral infection consisting of more than 100 strains. The infection affects the genitals and is most commonly caused by sexual contact, with 50-70% of cases resulting from intercourse. Warts will protrude as pink or skin-colored polyps, beginning quite small but growing over time as the condition deteriorates until the warts become much larger, resembling mini cauliflowers in appearance and shape.
  • Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2) herpes simplex virus. The type 2 virus is the main cause of herpes skin infections affecting the skin, the edge of the mouth and genitalia. Furthermore, this condition is capable of spreading to other areas of the body, with potentially life-threatening consequences. Such herpes protrusions resemble small pus-filled lesions that may become red and inflamed.
  • Syphilis is a condition caused by the Treponema pallidum bacteria. Such bacteria can enter the body through mucous located in the vagina, urethra, mouth, eyes or a open wound on the skin.
  • Hepatitis B and C The hepatitis B viral infection causes liver inflammation when the virus penetrates the liver cells walls. In some cases, however, the virus may lay dormant for years at a time, meaning that patients may be unaware of the presence of this dangerous disease.

Effective ways to ensure safe sex

1. Wearing a condom

This is a method of protection which most people are already aware of due to its simplicity, convenience and effectiveness. Wearing a condom during intercourse can prevent against pregnancy and the transmission of STDs. Moreover, there are now condoms available for women, which must be inserted into the vagina, but these are not yet popular in Thailand. Therefore, it is hoped that the Thai youth or teenage girls begin to learn about this technique as it can also offer high levels of protection.

The reason why condoms are seen as so effective is due to the protection they offer against the male sperm entering the female body. Condoms made from natural rubber are also of high quality, meaning they do not break or split easily during sex. Condoms are readily available at affordable prices and do not pose any risk to the user’s health whatsoever.

2. Contraceptive medication

It is generally the females who are more likely to use this form of protection, with such drugs usually consisting of multi-hormonal or single hormone supplements that prevent ovulation taking place. Alternatively, some such drugs thicken mucus of the cervix to stop the male sperm from being able to penetrate through to meet the female egg, while they may also make the endometrium unsuitable for fertilization, thereby protecting the woman against becoming pregnant. The most popular forms of contraceptive medication are courses of pills which last 21 or 28 days.

3. Emergency contraceptive drugs

This method is only suitable for emergency situations when unprotected sex has taken place or after some other urgent cases, such as when a condom has broken or split during sex. The course of medication consists of two pills, one to be taken immediately after sex or within the first 24 hours, and the second one to be taken 12 hours afterwards to ensure the utmost efficacy. One week after the course of two pills has been completed, the woman will experience her period. Emergency contraceptive drugs may have some unwanted side effects, such as vomiting and dizziness. If these or any other irregular symptoms occur, seek urgent medical treatment.

This era of rapid and simple communications means that teenagers are now able to organize meetings and get together more easily than ever before. The increase in teenage sex is an inevitable consequence. Therefore, where teenagers can protect themselves using the aforementioned methods, it can help them avoid unwanted pregnancies and provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Nevertheless, whichever method of contraception is being used, none of them offers 100% protection. Always be sure that intercourse is taking place with consent from both parties, at a suitable age, with both sides fully cognizant of how best to protect themselves.


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Assist. Prof. Phongthorn Virojchaiwong, M.D. Summary: Obstetrics And Gynaecology Reproductive Medicine