- Quang Nguyen
Adolescence is the most important period for growth in human development which creates more clear variations of mentality, behavior and perception. In this time, an essential factor that plays a very significant role throughout a person’s life is their sexual behavior. The increase of sexual urges in combination with mysterious feelings, emotions, and curiousness from body’s variation may become most intense occurrence during the adolescents’ development. They want to explore some arousal feeling in their body such as masturbation and having sex with someone without sexual knowledge and gestation prevention method. Therefore, the proportion of young people who get unexpected pregnancy and STD (Sexual Transmitted Diseases) is highest in comparison with other ages. Based on studies by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 8,300 young people aged 13 to 24 years in USA reporting had HIV infection. Nearly half of the 19 million new STDs each year are among young people aged 15 to 24 years. More than 400,000 teen girls aged 15 to19 years gave birth. From this statistics, we might see that most young people are still having very little information for helping them to better understand about sex. Personally, I am a male that is going through adolescence who always tries to look for some information to help me understand about the variation inside my body, the development of genitals and especially ways to prevent pregnancy and sexual transmitted infections. In order to better understand these issues, I chose “Adolescence Sexual Behavior” topic. Starting from an evolutionary perspective in adolescence, this paper provides an overview of the adolescence’s variation through the point of view from some disciplines as biology, psychology and sociology.
First of all, adolescence is a complex changing in the body with rate of growth rapidly from influence of biological factors. It’s also indicated as the starting of puberty, marking the variation from childhood to adolescence. During this variation, some growths occur rapidly such as sexual characteristics and fertility appear, this include testosterone released from the testes in males and estrogen and progesterone released at various stages of the egg maturation process by the ovaries and uterus of females. The pubertal rise in gonadal hormones contributes to the development of sexual characteristics, and influences neural function and sexual behavior via binding to testosterone and estrogen (Feldman, 1990). In males, the testes and scrotum, accompanied by the appearance of pubic hair will grow and the penis also grows larger. Then, sex organs change eventually making a male capable of producing, and ejaculating sperm. In addition, the change of the voice is a cause to create deepening of the voice in male. In females, breasts begin to grow larger and internal sexual changes include maturation of the uterus, vagina, and other parts of the reproductive system. The menstrual period also happens in this time. Then, the ovulation will often happen and the ability to become pregnant appears. Moreover, the hormones changes are likely to stimulate factors in face which may create acne, a situation that may cause embarrassment to adolescents (Lisa, Marcela and Kristin 2003). From these variations, the sexual desire becomes a problem with adolescence; they often worry and think about their appeal to the other sex which things may lead to a greater desire for intimacy and sex, greater sexual attractiveness. During this time, most adolescents often need attention and are interested from the support of the family and friends. The family attitude against those biological changes and sexuality play an important role on how the adolescents view their own body development. For example, the first menstruation becomes a chance for a family celebration in some country, while this event is surrounded by great secrecy in most western societies.
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Secondly, an element of the variation through adolescence is also influenced from psychology factors; it’s called as a cognitive transition. Compared to children, adolescents think in ways that they are more advanced, more efficient, and generally more complex. Adolescent maturation is a personal phase of development when children try to establish their own beliefs, values, and what they want to accomplish out of life (Joe Lewis 2007). They usually pay more attention to develop a new self-image from their physiological changes. For example, towards females, with the effect of ovarian hormones of puberty which leading some changes in their psychology manifestation, they seem to pay more attention to appearance, spending much time to contemplate themselves in the mirror and want to use beauty products to look better, be curious with the caress, and easy feel sexual excitement gradually. Also, they expect their parents to consider them mature and to behave as they are an actual grown up member in family; they want to escape from the control of parents, and try to self-discover, love, and adventure. That’s reason they are easy to stumble. These issues are particularly a worrying phenomenon conceived by the foolish actions. In males with the psychology want to assert themselves, they want people to recognize themselves as adults. They begin to have stimulus feelings when staying close with females and gradually develop sexual desires. Because the development in adolescent sexual stimulation, they start to be interested in the opposite sex, emotional of sexual desire appears. Some adolescents cannot control their emotions that lead to be attracted to the path of sex. Their perception are not enough to make them manage themselves, scattered thoughts, time and mind might be attracted by these issues that lead to result of learning and health are markedly diminished. They want to have early sexual behavior with lack of control and knowledge leading to unintended pregnancy and the risk of disease transmission through sexual intercourse, including HIV / AIDS. Also, due to the imperfect body, pregnancy in adolescence brings serious consequences for health such as abortion, miscarriage, low birth weight, preterm birth and maternal mortality. Pregnancy in adolescence influences strongly on the development of physical, psychological and their intellect as well. Therefore, in the process of understanding and exploring about sexual behaviors, they need to be equipped with life skills to help them build better relationships with friends; resolve conflicts confidently, knowing how to collaborate with others in groups, forming self-esteem as well as self-restrained pressure from peers and other adults. In addition, they should not engage in risky behaviors that are harmful to the health and safety of themselves and their families. Although some adolescence has a “mature” appearance, their recognition and behavior in practical life is still limited.
Finally, adolescence is a time of rapid body growth that has potential biological and psychological variations and it is also a time of considerable from the powerful influence of society. Society’s view towards sex has drastically changed in the past two decades and this has directly influenced sexual activity among adolescents (Walker and Joy 2004). From this influence, adolescents engaging in sexual intercourse so early in life are extensive and it becomes increasingly evident that cultural changes within our society have played the single most influential role in adolescence sexual behavior. Most of adolescents today are easily exposed or knows about sex because of the wide availability of technology. Sex is exploited throughout the media; adolescents are frequently exposed to sexual material on television, in movies, and in magazines. Many adolescents try to use alcohol, cigarettes, or other drugs and to initiate sexual relationships at earlier ages for numerous reasons, including curiosity, to feel better, to reduce stress, to pretend to be adults, and to be participant of a social group and then putting themselves at high risk for unintended pregnancies, and infection from sexually transmitted diseases. From the survey by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, there is about 17% of American high school students drink, smoke or use drugs during the school day, 44% of high school students know a classmate who sells drugs at school, and 60% say that drugs are available on campus (Carl Azuz 2012). The development of media about sex is not necessarily bad itself but because rapid development of sex with poor quality of sexual education that creates unhealthy attitudes and beliefs about sex within the minds of adolescents. In addition, with societal goals such as money and power are also create the variation strongly on adolescence sexual behavior. For example, the increasing number of income families means the time sharing between parents and children is decreasing and the prevalence of divorce sometimes creates some bad effect in an adolescent’s life. That’s reason, many adolescents have no choice but to talk with their friends about sexual matters and results in a shortage of knowledge when it comes up to sexuality.
Overall, adolescence is the most important time in evolutionary process of human development. From the perspectives through biological, psychological and sociology that help me better understand about adolescence sexual behavior as well as the changing of my body in the puberty time, how it works and I can make better choices about sexual activities. With an aim to have a better understanding of adolescence period and searching the value knowledge related to sexual behavior to help me prevent myself from any bad effects happening due to lacking information in this phase. That’s reason make me to choose this topic as my concern. Thanks to this choice, I have found that adolescence period is a very sensitive phase. To lessen the bad effects which can be brought to society as well as adolescents in this phase, I think society, parents and teachers should spend much time to understand them, to listen and respect them, sharing and talking to them as a friend. With the tolerance and being respected, I hope adolescents will always feel safe in their own family. With a secured family and good relationship between family and society, adolescents can be equipped with enough knowledge before make any decision.
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