Are young people uninformed about sexuality? How STI infections are increasing and the harmful influence of porn.

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The latest research concerning sexuality and young people shows that the average age of first intercourse is 16.9 for males and 17.4 for females. Over half of Americans ages 18 to 24 say their last sexual partner was either someone they were dating or seeing casually.

There is no doubt that teenagers are sexually active. 53 % of teenagers have sex at least once per week. Most of them admit that they don’t think about contraception or infection prevention. Even though it’s easy to forget protection, getting caught up in the heat of the moment can definitely have consequences!

The World Health Organization reported more than 350 million cases of sexually transmitted diseases per year around the world. The lifestyle enjoyed by modern teenagers makes it easy for them to meet random acquaintances, and they often times forget about “safe” sex practices. All forms of sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral, anal) in this regard are risky, especially when there is:

• contact with multiple partners,

• intercourse with a person who is sexually active with multiple partners,

• engaging in intercourse under the influence of alcohol or psychoactive substances

The difference between STDs vs. STIs

These two terms are often confused. STD is the most commonly used term for sexually transmitted disease and STI stands for sexually transmitted infection. Infection doesn’t always present with symptoms or develop into a disease. For example, the vast majority of women who are infected by HPV (human papilloma virus) will not develop cervical cancer.

According to the CDC approximately 19 million people are infected with STIs per year in the U.S. And more than half of people infected are between the ages of 15 and 24! Up to 80 percent of those infected with an STI will not exhibit visible symptoms, so testing is necessary. Even though most cases of infection disappear within two years, the infection can be spread to other sexual partners during unprotected intercourse.

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Common STIs you should know about

HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)
The most common STI, which increases the risk of throat, penile, cervical and anal cancers. There is no medical treatment, but it’s possible to get vaccinated.

CHLAMYDIA
More than 1,307,000 Americans were infected with chlamydia in 2010! Even if it can be treated with antibiotics, chlamydia can cause serious complications such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease in women, which causes infertility and chronic pain.

GONORRHEA
Third most common STI in U.S. and makes those infected more susceptible to HIV infection. A new treatment-resistant strain of this STI has appeared which makes it difficult to cure.

GENITAL HERPES
Is incurable, but can be treated with anti-viral drugs. Condoms can significantly reduce the risk of transmission, as it passes via skin-to skin contact.

SYPHILIS
Untreated, can lead to death. Those infected can infect others without showing symptoms during dormant period.

HIV
Around 1.1 million Americans have HIV, of which at least 20 % are unaware of the infection. Getting tested during the early stages can save lives. Taking anti-viral drugs can help manage debilitating symptoms.

How to protect yourself?

1. Get regular checkups

STIs can be detected during a routine visit to a gynecologist or urologist. Get tested once per year. Test yourself more often if you have multiple partners or experience symptoms such as genital itching, blisters or lumps in your genital area or if you observe unusual discharge from the vagina or penis.

2. Use a condom every time

The best method, which gives 85-98 percent protection, is using a new condom every time. It’s important that the sperm remains in the condom. Sometimes condoms break or roll down, especially among unexperienced lovers. Teenagers also face social pressure, like a boy convincing a girl to not use condom because he doesn’t feel anything. There are a wide variety of products on the market and everyone can find something suitable.

3. Be careful during parties

60% of women who contracted STIs during college had sex while under the influence of alcohol! Never accept drinks from someone you don’t know and don’t leave your drink unattended or someone may slip something into it while you’re away. Make sure that your friends keep an eye on you during parties and don’t go home alone.

Impact of pornography on the personality of young people

After discussing the serious health threats faced by uninformed teenagers, it’s time to discuss the psychological threats related to sexual activity. For teenagers, first contact with sex usually begins at home, with pornography. Thanks to easy access on the Internet children are being exposed to overtly sexual images and hard porn with just a push of a button!

Does exposure to graphic material, extreme sex scenes, and other obscene content not violate the sexual sphere and personal dignity of young people? There are no doubts: it hurts!

Numerous scientific studies have confirmed pornography’s negative impact on society, including pornography addiction and criminal acts perpetrated while viewing porn. Pornography has a devastating impact on teenagers’ psyches, outstripping their ability to adapt and provides pathological patterns of behavior.

Teenagers are especially vulnerable, because they don’t know how to cope with emotions. They haven’t formed personal sexual needs and obscene images from porn can impose pathological patterns.

Porn sexualizes the adolescent psyche causing premature sexual awakening and provocative sexual behavior. Pornographic material also causes physical sexual problems such as premature ejaculation and issues related to performance anxiety, when young people compare their inexperienced sexual attempts and developing bodies with professional porn stars.

Pornographic material distorts how young people relate to each other, and impacts their perception as sexual partners. For a young viewer hard porn conveys a clear message: adult life is filled with sex and aggression. Young viewers lose their ability to control their behavior.

For girls the relationship between violence and sexual anxiety is stronger than in boys. Contact with hard pornography may make girls afraid of men and increase their fear of sexual intercourse.

There is no doubt that pornography has a devastating impact on the mental processes of viewers, especially children and youth.

Source: all statistical data based on the researches provided by World Health Organization and CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.