Just last week I was at a baby shower celebrating my friend’s future baby girl. Jesse and his girlfriend are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Zoe, the future light of their lives. After leaving the baby shower for some reason, I kept noticing pregnant women. No matter if was at the mall, at a bookstore, at a restaurant or even at school, I noticed many women expecting a child. However, I also noticed that many of these were women and not teenage girls like I was used to seeing.
I then stumbled on an article about a new study that found teenagers are becoming more sexually responsible than adults. According to a recent study by Indiana University, 80 percent of 14-17 year old boys and 69 percent of teenage girls said they used a condom the last time they had sex, compared to less than half of adults ages 25 and up.
I began to wonder if upcoming generations are being more careful while engaging in sexual activities because they fear contracting a sexually transmitted disease, fear becoming another figure in a teenage pregnancy statistic, or if perhaps the public school’s abstinence-only curriculum is actually working.
After a few hours of research, I found out about the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit research group, which agreed with what Indiana University had discovered in their recent study. Guttmacher Institute claimed, “The decline in teen pregnancy rate is due to more consistent contraceptive use.”
This truly came as a shocking surprise, because I witnessed many of my peers either dropping out of high school during their pregnancy or walking across the stage with a baby bump during our graduation ceremony. But I was mostly impressed that future generations are taking the initiative to practice safe sex. As stigmatized as sex is in our country, the United States has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy, when compared to other developed countries.
While the news is good about the teen pregnancy decline, they are still more likely to become infected with an Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) each year.
Out of 19 million cases of sexually transmitted infections annually, teens account for about half of them. Teenagers are also most likely to become pregnant. Almost 750,000 women ages 15-19 become pregnant, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
But I believe that if the recent study shows that 80 percent of teenage boys are being more sexually responsible, we are not far from reaching 100 percent. As crazy as it may sound, maybe abstinence is not the answer to avoid teenage pregnancy, maybe teaching responsible sexual behavior in schools is more effective.
DISCLAIMER: The beliefs and viewpoints expressed in opinion pieces, letters to the editor, by columnists and/or contributing writers are not necessarily those of Our Weekly.