A teenage is between an adolescent and adult, where the body is physically maturing but the mind still remains immature and inexperienced in worldly matters. This is also the age when one can develop skills and carve out a good future.
Due to surge of hormones at this stage, there is a very strong attraction towards opposite gender and also a very strong desire for sex. But they have to be made aware of risks of succumbing to such desires. Infections like HIV, Hepatitis B and C, other sexually transmitted diseases are acquired and transmitted through unprotected sex. Before they realise what is happening, some of them may already have been infected. As young adults, they can suffer from a sequel of sexually transmitted diseases, like chronic pelvic infections, urinary tract infections in girls, whereas the boy may grow up having chronic infection of testes, vas deferens, urinary bladder, one or more parts. Sexually acquired infections during adolescence or teenage years, can result in sterility as adults. Thus, when adult and married, they suffer the trauma of not being able to bear a child, because of ‘some fun’ they had as teenagers.
Worst is the risk of pregnancy. A teenage girl becomes pregnant unknowingly. Now, either she goes for an illegal abortion, thus risking her health and life, or has the baby becomes a teenage mother. The boy involved usually walks off. Even if he stays, being a youngster, he does not have the capacity to support a family, neither emotionally nor financially. Unless there is support from other family members, the child born is bound to be neglected and not receive proper care, thus bringing up a weak person in the community. As for future prospects, most of these girls are unable to pursue any further studies and end up doing small jobs to sustain themselves and the baby. If she gives up the baby for adoption or abandons it, she is bound to carry the guilt of it throughout her life.
The best thing for a teenager is to focus on learning new skills and enhancing talents and personality in a positive direction. This would keep the mind on more creative pursuits. Teachers and parents can guide them in this direction. These days, due to easy access to internet, teenagers are free to watch anything they wish. It is difficult to monitor an individual all time. If in bad company, a youngster may watch porn sites, the mind is bound to be full of sexual ideas and they will definitely try to experiment at the first opportunity available. They need help to develop good ideas and creative hobbies during their leisure time. Reading good books is a very healthy past time which stimulates the mind, improves language skills and enhances knowledge. Active involvement in games and sports is also a healthy and pleasurable past time which will keep the mind off of other frivolous harmful activities including sex.
Every growing child should be educated about sex and consequences of random sexual activity.
After growing up and building a life, there will be plenty of time and opportunities for “fun”. It is also the socially acceptable time for it. Also, when one observes celibacy for some years, waiting for the right opportunity and person, the act becomes more enjoyable.
Thus, a wise teenager is one, who in spite of having curiosity about sex and interest in it, exercises restraint and avoids it.
Dr Rachna Pande, Specialist, internal medicine