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Why Teens Have Sex

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I. Introduction
“When should a person become sexually active?” is a question from an article called: Teenagers and Sex: Are They Ready? The fact is that the only time someone is responsible enough to have sex is when they are fully aware of the consequences of participating in any sexual activity. In the popular magazine, the claim is that Environment, age of partner and perceived family support may affect young people’s decision to have sex. The research that will be shown in this paper suggests that the media is the main reason why the adolescents are so interested in sex is because the media shows too much of sex. The United States is known to have the most rates in teen pregnancy and STD’s. Do the media support the prevention of premarital sex? Not with all of their advertisements that are using sex as a tool to sell their products. The popular magazine tells us that the media isn’t playing an important role as the environment, age of partner and family support, which they say is the reason why adolescents tend to have sex. Those things also play a role in an adolescent’s life but the media, whether they know it or not, might actually be fueling the adolescent’s minds into thinking that this thing at their age is fine and acceptable to society. The media can be an important factor to why adolescents experiment with sexual intercourse but that is where we need to do research. It may also be the fact that parents aren’t preventing their teens from things they shouldn’t be exposed to. We just can’t simply blame the Media without properly conducting research. The study that is about to be shown is trying to prove whether or not the media is the main reason why teenagers have sexual intercourse or sexual activities.
II. Methods
A study was conducted by the researchers from the University of Kentucky at a meeting in the American Public Health Association (APHA). They decided to follow 950 teenagers in 17 different high schools in Kentucky and Ohio. The students they ranged from were 9th to 11th graders and they got this information by letting them fill out surveys anonymously. Another study was based on the age of partner hypothesis. (Wiederman) Harold Leitenberg, Ph. D., a professor of psychology at the University of Vermont was trying to find out that if these girls that lost their virginity at the age of 11 or 12 and if they decided to have a partner 5 years older. So they conducted research by handing out surveys. Another research done at the APHA meeting showed that Adolescents who felt that their families were more supportive were less likely to have unprotected sex, and thus were at a lesser risk for pregnancy and disease. This study was done by the raising of hands in a classroom.
This is indeed an ongoing problem in the adolescent world. The more sexual activity that we have among adolescents the more chances and risks we have for STD’s, HIV and AIDS. A study found in the article: The Mass Media Are an Important Context for Adolescents’ Sexual Behavior, shows that Teens who are exposed to sex from the media, and who get the support they need from the media, report that the chance of engaging in sexual intercourse is greater. A survey of 1,800 teenagers found that about 75% are very or somewhat concerned about HIV/AIDS, STDs, and unwanted pregnancy, but statistics like the following are shocking: 19% did not know that STDs can be spread through oral sex, 60% did not know that STDs can cause some kinds of cancer, 33% did not know that the risk of HIV/AIDS is increased by having STDs, and 24% did not know that STDs can cause infertility. (Tynan)
The research done by Skyler T. Hawk, Adolescents ' Contact With Sexuality in Mainstream Media: A Selection-Based Perspective, showed participants were recruited through high schools and middle schools, mostly in urban areas, that agreed to participate in data collection. Thirty-one schools were randomly selected and contacted, 18 of which immediately agreed to participate. When a school did not agree to assist in data collection, they tried to recruit a "sister school" for the study, equivalent to the non-consenting school in terms size, student population, level, and denomination. The final sample consisted of 29 schools. Contact with sexual content in the mainstream media was measured by six items on a 5-point scale, from 1 (never) to 5 (very often) that asked participants how often in the last 6 months they had read something about sex in a book or magazine, heard something about sex on a radio program or saw a television program where sex was discussed, and accessed the internet or called an information line to gain knowledge about sexuality.
III. Results
The research shows that the adolescents actually could find their needs met with the message given by the media, but it is still not certain that the media is 100% to blame for this. What they found was that these young teens were found having sexual intercourse based on their knowledge of their friends experience with sexual intercourse, even if they really weren’t having sex. “You’re 2.5 times more likely to have sex by the 9th grade if you think your friends are having sex – whether or not they really are,” says Katherine Atwood, assistant professor at the Kentucky School of Public Health. Harold Leitenberg, Ph. D., a professor of psychology at the University of Vermont showed that his study found that 4,201 girls in 8th through 12th grades, those who lost their virginity between the ages 11 and 12 tended to have partners five or more years older.
An article called “Teen Sex: Fueled by Media Images or Curbed through Good Information?” writes this: “Pass any magazine rack and sexy images are on prominent display, not just in the popular magazines for adults, but also in those geared for the teen market. Overall, one-third to one-half of the television shows teens commonly watch contain verbal references to sexual issues (Tynan). The end result is that 20% of teens have sex before reaching age 15 and while teen sexual activity has declined, and astounding 48% have engaged in sexual intercourse. Regarding sexual socialization, Brown concluded that the mass media are important providers of sex education for American adolescents. According to Strasburger, nearly 50% of adolescents report getting information about birth control from the media. Health professionals continue to be concerned about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), AIDS in particular, among the adolescent population. At the end of 1999, there were over 25,000 cases of HIV infection among Americans between the ages of 20 and 24, and an additional 3,500 cases among those between 13 and 19. People under the age of 25 account for half of the HIV infections in the U.S. Although knowledgeable about the transmission of AIDS and STDs, adolescents in general do not take appropriate precautions (Chapin). Less than 10% of sexually active adolescents use condoms consistently (Centers for Disease Control, 1998). Media are one way that adolescents receive information about sex, and some literature finds that it has harmful effects. Warren, Gerke, and Kelly (2002) found that parents ' patterns of involvement in their children 's television exposure can be important mediators of a variety of potential negative effects of television, and their article cites a wealth of literature on that topic. Media have been shown to influence outcomes such as environmental concern and behavior (e.g., Holbert, Kwak, & Shah, 2003), and some of the variance in adolescent sexual outcomes may also be explained by media exposure since it is a way that children are socialized to sexuality (Greenberg, Brown, & BuerkelRothfuss, 1993), This was the focus of the study.
IV. Discussion
The media has an important role in society but the research does not have enough proof to conclude that they are the primary reason why adolescents are having sex. Like the saying goes, “it takes two to tango.” Even though the adolescents are constantly being bombarded with the media and all their sexual content, sex still up to their digression. It might be safe to say that the media does have an influence but to completely blame them would not be accurate.
On the other hand, teenagers are never informed of the consequences of what could happen from what the media portrays. Most of the media that are accessible by adolescents hardly ever inform them on the consequences of the sex that they portray. The relationship that strongly connects media and adolescents’ sexuality is probably due to the media’s role as a vital source of sexual socialization for teenagers. Clearly, the media is more influential to people than society realizes. It’s allowing teens to think that sexual intercourse is something that they should have in their personal life. It is seen everywhere. Not only in magazines or commercials but also in these new fads called reality television or in any TV series that any teen has access to watching. The sad thing is that these reality TV shows or TV series are only portraying real life or a mildly-distorted version of society ironically driving it into a perpetual sex world. “Teen Sex: Fueled by Media Images or Curbed through Good Information?” writes this: “One in five teens has genital herpes. Half of the girls who have had sex contract HPV, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, and 14% of them will get cervical cancer, a disease that causes more deaths than HIV/AIDS. More and more adolescents are experiencing sexually transmitted diseases all for the feeling of being accepted in society. But it is all by allowing the teenagers to have access to these things like TV, Internet and magazines. The parents should be filtering the content of what the teens are allowed to watch, see, or just be exposed to.
Media has more ways than one. Watch any television show targeting teens and the sexual images are even more blatant and pervasive. Media also uses the music that is produced by superstars like “Lil’ Wayne” and “Ludacris” which are stars that emphasize sex explicitly as if it is something to do for fun or a game to play. The media shows the better side of sex and how happy it can make them. They show that you can easily benefit from these experiences and that it can make you enjoy life. The reality of it is that sex usually causes emotional breakdowns, STD’s, family issues, social issues, and of course self esteem issues. The media should be used to display ways to prevent these tragic happenings. We should be making it safer for kids to watch T.V. , surf the web, read magazines, listen to the radio and watch movies. Alternatively, others have not found evidence of a link between the quantity and content of television viewing and the initiation of sexual activity, but followed with a discussion of the need for a more specific measurement of sexually oriented TV content. No one has completely proven that the media is the main reason why the adolescents are continuously having sexual intercourse or sexual activities. It is hard to say that the media is entirely responsible for the teens having sex. The problem is that parents aren’t taking full responsibility in what they allow their kids to watch. Understanding what TV, internet, and other sources contain, parents should be constantly watching and preventing them from watching things that are bare and obscene. The media will always use sex to sell and to get more ratings, but that doesn’t mean that they should be the ones to blame for all the sexual activity going on with the adolescents.
V. Conclusion So, the media can be a common factor in why teens want to or already have been experiencing sex. The media can be dangerous although an important tool for informing us about news. But, saying that they are the main reason why adolescents are having so much sex would still be inaccurate. The leading age group that has the most STD’s ratings is the teenagers and this, of course, is a concern. But the fault does not entirely rest on the media. Sure the media does have its sexual standards of selling their products, making their ratings, and getting more hits on an internet sit, but it is both the adolescent teen and the parents responsibility in what they are exposed to. The problem is that parents aren’t consistently preventing their kids from watching, or having any access to things that of course have sexual content. It is as if they don’t see the ratings like: R, pg-13, or what have you. Those ratings are there for a reason, and if the parents are still up to letting their kids view the film or the T.V. show, then they will see the consequences of doing so. The media should be used to display ways to prevent these tragic happenings. They should be making it safer for kids to watch T.V., surf the web, read magazines, listen to the radio and watch movies. So in conclusion, the media has been a factor among teens in why they have sex but it hasn’t yet been fully proven that it is entirely their fault. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. While teens are constantly bombarded with the Mass Media influence that is plaguing our society and brainwashing them, it is still the teens responsibility in deciding whether or not they are going to have sex. But what the media is constantly doing is showing teens that sex is ok and that it is the best way to be cool or to be noticed. In the age of the adolescents, people are trying to look for love in different places and if they are finding that sex is the answer then who is to blame?

Work Cited:

Brown, Sharon, and Lyn Mikel . "Music, the Media, And Teenage Sex." Education Week 26.9 (25 Oct. 2006): 39-40. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. . Cypress College Library, Cypress, CA, 15 Apr. 2008 <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=22912505&loginpage=login.asp&site=ehost-live&scope=site>.

Chapin, John R. "ADOLESCENT SEX AND THE MASS MEDIA: A DEVELOPMENTAL APPROACH." Adolescence 35.140 (Winter 2000): 799. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Cypress College Library, Cypress, CA. 26 Mar. 2008 <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=4086888&loginpage=login.asp&site=ehost-live&scope=site>.

Hawk, Skyler T., et al. "Adolescents ' Contact With Sexuality in Mainstream Media: A Selection-Based Perspective." Journal of Sex Research 43.4 (Nov. 2006): 352-363. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. . Cypress College Library, Cypress, CA. 26 Mar. 2008 <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=23508428&loginpage=login.asp&site=ehost-live&scope=site>.

Tynan, Cheryl L., and Joshua J.. "CONSUMPTION OF SEXUAL DIALOGUE AND CONTENT ON TELEVISION AND ADOLESCENT SEXUAL OUTCOMES: MULTIETHNIC FINDINGS." Adolescence 41.161 (Spring 2006): 15-38. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Cypress College Library, Cypress, CA. 26 Mar. 2008 <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=20634717&loginpage=login.asp&site=ehost-live&scope=site>.

Ward, L. Monique. "Children, Adolescents, and the Media: The Molding of Minds, Bodies, and Deeds." New Directions for Child & Adolescent Development 2005.109 (Fall 2005): 63-71. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Cypress College Library, Cypress, Ca, 15 Apr. 2008 <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=18580801&loginpage=login.asp&site=ehost-live&scope=site>.

Wiederman, Michael W., and Laura M. Carpenter.. "Sexual Teens, Sexual Media: Investigating Media 's Influence on Adolescent Sexuality (Book)." Journal of Sex Research 40.4 (Nov. 2003): 403-405. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. . Cypress College Library, Cypress, CA. 26 Mar. 2008 <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=11804910&loginpage=login.asp&site=ehost-live&scope=site>.

Cited: Brown, Sharon, and Lyn Mikel . "Music, the Media, And Teenage Sex." Education Week 26.9 (25 Oct. 2006): 39-40. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. . Cypress College Library, Cypress, CA, 15 Apr. 2008 <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=22912505&loginpage=login.asp&site=ehost-live&scope=site>. Chapin, John R. "ADOLESCENT SEX AND THE MASS MEDIA: A DEVELOPMENTAL APPROACH." Adolescence 35.140 (Winter 2000): 799. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Cypress College Library, Cypress, CA. 26 Mar. 2008 <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=4086888&loginpage=login.asp&site=ehost-live&scope=site>. Hawk, Skyler T., et al. "Adolescents ' Contact With Sexuality in Mainstream Media: A Selection-Based Perspective." Journal of Sex Research 43.4 (Nov. 2006): 352-363. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. . Cypress College Library, Cypress, CA. 26 Mar. 2008 <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=23508428&loginpage=login.asp&site=ehost-live&scope=site>. Tynan, Cheryl L., and Joshua J.. "CONSUMPTION OF SEXUAL DIALOGUE AND CONTENT ON TELEVISION AND ADOLESCENT SEXUAL OUTCOMES: MULTIETHNIC FINDINGS." Adolescence 41.161 (Spring 2006): 15-38. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Cypress College Library, Cypress, CA. 26 Mar. 2008 <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=20634717&loginpage=login.asp&site=ehost-live&scope=site>. Ward, L. Monique. "Children, Adolescents, and the Media: The Molding of Minds, Bodies, and Deeds." New Directions for Child & Adolescent Development 2005.109 (Fall 2005): 63-71. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Cypress College Library, Cypress, Ca, 15 Apr. 2008 <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=18580801&loginpage=login.asp&site=ehost-live&scope=site>. Wiederman, Michael W., and Laura M. Carpenter.. "Sexual Teens, Sexual Media: Investigating Media 's Influence on Adolescent Sexuality (Book)." Journal of Sex Research 40.4 (Nov. 2003): 403-405. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. . Cypress College Library, Cypress, CA. 26 Mar. 2008 <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=11804910&loginpage=login.asp&site=ehost-live&scope=site>.

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