|Image courtesy of skinnerart.photoshelter.com|
When you're a teenager, the world is vibrant and full of opportunity. It's like there's a wall that's been in front of you for a very long time. You've always wondered what things were like on the other side of the wall. You always heard sounds of laughter and playful banter floating over it for your little ears to absorb and interpret in whatever way your young mind can. Then one day, you had grown big enough to see for yourself what was on the other end. Being a teenager means being on the fence. There are perks to being young, but there's privileges to being mature too. People begin to trust you and let you go off and do things on your own. But as you grow older, your tolerance for childishness reduces. Suddenly, your primary school going sibling is so boring you wonder how you guys ever enjoyed time together. Suddenly, everyone younger than you is a nuisance. What with all their pettiness and constant need for attention, right? You find that your concerns are bigger and more immediate than a mere snack while on your way to see a favourite auntie.
Since you've spent so much time being childish, you're now eager to do a little more adult stuff. All the things you were previously deemed too young to do are now within reach. You can stay out a little later, go off on trips with little or no supervision, drink some alcohol, and find out the extent to which your body is changing, along with the new desires you have. As a teenager, you feel like sex is on the table. Well, no, not like that. I mean that you feel you can now indulge in the hallowed activity of sex. Why? Because as you grew up, sex was shrouded in so much mystery that all it ever did to you was fill you with curiosity. You had to cover your eyes whenever a love scene was on TV. Of course, your parents/guardians wouldn't be caught dead trying to explain such things to you. They'd rather leave it to your teachers and peers at school. You were left to figure out the rest. The most they could do was say, 'Don't have sex. It's bad. Okay?' Then you asked yourself, "If it's so bad, why do the people having it seem to enjoy it?" Turns out, the main thing driving you to sex is curiosity. Until you learn that sex has so many faces.
There's a reason that the adults always said to at least 'wait until you're old enough'. Mainly it was because you needed to see the bigger picture. Sex is exciting, but it has an uncanny way of changing people's lives in ways that nothing else does. For instance, getting pregnant can change many things, especially if you're a teenager. Then it occurs to you that you're not so informed as you had thought. Sure, your pals had told you how epic it was to be sexually active. But most of that is just words. And even if there's some truth in it, luck eventually runs out when there's no method to your actions. If you don't use condoms, or any other contraceptive, there will be pregnancy. "But sex is better without the condom," they say. It is a fact, but there will be time for that at some point. You first need to stay safe and healthy. The teenage body is only beginning to modify itself for sexual activity, so it's rather unpredictable. And vulnerable. And a teenage pregnancy is nothing to smile about. The one constant is the threat to the young mother's life. Still, we make mistakes. Some heavier than others, but no need to ostracize. What I'd want our teenagers to know is that there are mistakes that can be avoided simply by postponing the activity until they know better. They say, "Never make a deal until you've listened to all the options." All it takes is to listen, and you might be saved from the dangers of your mistakes. By the way, condoms and contraceptives are not ways adults contrived to take the pleasure out of sex. Those things are meant to keep you safe from most sexually transmitted problems. And teenage pregnancy is one of them. Don't leave things to chance. Talk to someone older/more mature. A word could change the course of a teenager's life without them ever knowing it.
As the teenager can now see the green fields on the other side of the wall, they can also see the storm-clouds gather in the skies about. Naturally, they'd seek out shelter. It's not all fun and games, but just because the sun doesn't shine doesn't mean they shouldn't make the most of a grim situation. Should they insist on braving the storm, they would at least consider an umbrella or a raincoat. Or they can just wait until the weather's fine and jump about freely, without the restrictions of umbrellas and heavy raincoats. Enough analogy? Alright then, you should not have sex until you at least know about teenage pregnancy, STDs, contraceptives and the legal age of consent (I'll expound these soon).
Safety first, always.