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El Reto

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Sebastian Lewis
Sebastian Lewis

Teen Sex Categories [EXCLUSIVE]

Teen sexual health outcomes over the past decade have been mixed. On one hand, teen pregnancy and birth rates have fallen dramatically, reaching record lows. On the other hand, rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among teens and young adults have been on the rise. Many schools and community groups have adopted programming that incorporates abstinence from sexual activity as an approach to reduce teen pregnancy and STI rates. The content of these programs, however, can vary considerably, from those that stress abstinence as the only option for youth, to those that address abstinence along with medically accurate information about safer sexual practices including the use of contraceptives and condoms. Early action from the Trump administration has signaled renewed support for abstinence-only programming. This fact sheet reviews the types of sex education models and state policies surrounding them, the major sources of federal funding for both abstinence and safer sex education, and summarizes the research on impact of these programs on teen sexual behavior.

teen sex categories

Under the Obama Administration, there was a notable shift in abstinence education funding toward more evidence-based sex education initiatives. The current landscape of federal sex education programs is detailed in Table 2 and includes newer programs such as Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), the first federal funding stream to provide grants to states in support of evidence-based sex education that teach about both abstinence and contraception. In addition, the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) was established to more narrowly focus on teen pregnancy prevention, providing grants to replicate evidence-based program models, as well as funding for implementation and rigorous evaluation of new and innovative models.

In 2007, a nine-year congressionally mandated study that followed four of the programs during the implementation of the Title V AOUM program found that abstinence-only education had no effect on the sexual behavior of youth.7 Teens in abstinence-only education programs were no more likely to abstain from sex than teens that were not enrolled in these programs. Among those who did have sex, there was no difference in the mean age at first sexual encounter or the number of sexual partners between the two groups. The study also found that youth that participated in the programs were no more likely to engage in unprotected sex than youth who did not participate. While teens who participated in these programs could identify types of STIs at slightly higher rates than those who did not, program youth were less likely to correctly report that condoms are effective at preventing STIs. A more recent review also suggests that these programs are ineffective in delaying sexual initiation and influencing other sexual activity.8 Studies conducted in individual states found similar results.9,10 One study found that states with policies that require sex education to stress abstinence, have higher rates of teenage pregnancy and births, even after accounting for other factors such as socioeconomic status, education, and race.11

There is, however, considerable evidence that comprehensive sex education programs can be effective in delaying sexual initiation among teens, and increasing use of contraceptives, including condoms. One study found that youth who received information about contraceptives in their sex education programs were at 50% lower risk of teen pregnancy than those in abstinence-only programs.14 It also found that teens in these more comprehensive programs were no more likely than those receiving abstinence-only education to engage in sexual intercourse, as some critics argue. Another study found that over 40% of programs that addressed both abstinence and contraception delayed the initiation of sex and reduced the number of sexual partners, and more than 60% of the programs reduced the incidence of unprotected sex.15,16,17 Despite this growing evidence, in 2014, roughly three-fourths of high schools and half of middle schools taught abstinence as the most effective method to avoid pregnancy, HIV, and other STDs, just under two-thirds of high schools taught about the efficacy of contraceptives, and about one-third of high schools taught students how to correctly use a condom (Figure 2).

The Trump administration continues to shift the focus towards abstinence-only education, revamping the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and increasing federal funding for sexual risk avoidance programs. Despite the large body of evidence suggesting that abstinence-only programs are ineffective at delaying sexual activity and reducing the number of sexual partners of teens, many states continue to seek funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and mandate an emphasis on abstinence when sex education is taught in school. There will likely be continued debate about the effectiveness of these programs and ongoing attention to the level of federal investment in sex education programs that prioritize abstinence-only approaches over those that are more comprehensive and based on medical information.

Unfortunately, this behavior is becoming increasingly common in teens. A recent analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control reveals that up to 30 percent of teenage girls and 10 percent of boys say they have intentionally injured themselves. One study found that as many as 25 percent of young people engage in self-harm.

Why do teenagers cut themselves or use other forms of self-mutilation? Teens who cut or burn themselves are not attempting suicide. Instead, they are using methods of self-harm as an unhealthy coping mechanism to deal with difficult emotions.

Self-harm in teens is a way for them to release feelings of pain, tension, and anxiety. These painful emotions may include anger, shame, grief, guilt, and self-loathing. They see self-injury as a way to feel more in control of their emotions, or they use it to distract themselves from their emotions or life circumstances. In addition, they may engage in self-harm because they want to punish themselves for what they see as their faults or flaws.

Moreover, teens sometimes injure themselves because the physical pain of self-harming seems better than numbness and emptiness that come with depression. Thus, cutting and depression are often linked.

Self-injury may bring a temporary feeling of calm and a release of tension. However, the painful emotions quickly return. Some teens self-injure only a few times and then stop. But others continue repeatedly, over a long period of time. Therefore, self-harming can turn into a compulsive behavior.

Self-harm or self-injury is not a mental illness. Rather, it is an unhealthy coping mechanism associated with an underlying mental health condition. Several illnesses are associated with self-harming, including borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, anxiety, and PTSD. Furthermore, teens who harm themselves often do so while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

While it is not considered a method for suicide, self harm in teens may be associated with an increased risk of suicide. According to one study, up to 70 percent of teens who self-harm have attempted suicide at another time, and 55 percent have made multiple suicide attempts. Therefore, cutting and other forms of self-harm must be addressed with professional treatment as soon as they are discovered.

Teens usually self-harm in private. However, they may use self-injury as a way of bonding with others who also experience distress and pain. Moreover, teens with friends who self-harm are more likely to try it themselves. In addition, teens seeking relief from painful emotions can easily find information online about how to engage in different types of self-harm.

In addition, consumption of digital media takes away from time spent on healthier activities, such as sleeping, exercising, or spending time in nature. As a result, teens have fewer opportunities to develop positive methods for coping with stress.

Recent research shows that depressive symptoms and suicide rates among adolescents increased between 2010 and 2015, especially among females. And teenagers who spent more time on social media and smartphones were more likely to report mental health issues. Moreover, adolescents who spent more time on non-screen activities, such as face-to-face social interaction, sports and exercise, homework, and print media, were less likely to report mental health issues.

Not all forms of self-harm look the same. One of the most common of the different types of self-harm is cutting, using a knife or other sharp object. Often teens cut themselves as a kind of ritual that leaves patterns on the skin. They may carve words or symbols on their skin.

In addition, teens learn new coping mechanisms for dealing with difficult circumstances or painful emotions. Treatment provides them with different ways to stop self-harm behaviors by substituting other, healthier behaviors, such as breathing exercises and compassionate self-talk.

Here are some effective strategies that can help teens replace self-harm with positive experiences. Moreover, these different ways to stop self-harm will also help teenagers build self-esteem and authentic connections.

Unplugging: Unfortunately, teens who self-harm sometimes find websites that support or glamorize this behavior. Therefore, they are drawn back into the habit. Thus, unplugging as much as possible is important for teens who engage in different forms of self-harm. Moreover, reducing digital media activity will support mental health overall.

However, measuring BMI in children and teens is slightly different. Girls and boys develop at different rates and have different amounts of body fat at different ages. For this reason, BMI measurements during childhood and adolescence take age and sex into consideration.

Ethical nonmonogamy is a broad umbrella term for any relationship where people can have multiple romantic and sexual partners at the same time. It includes polyamory, open relationships, relationship anarchy, and many other types of relationships between more than two people. Ethically nonmonogamous relationships can be casual, committed, open, exclusive, dating-only, sex-only, or some combination of these categories, and people in these relationships may or may not use terms like boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner to describe each other. 041b061a72


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