Why do Singaporean teenagers have premarital sex? What can parents do to help this?
A recent study conducted by the National University of Singapore and the Department of STI Control suggests that a teen's involvement in school and the nature of his social life are correlated to his tendency to engage in premartial sex. The survey was conducted on 500 teens who had had premarital sex and another 500 who had abstained, all aged 14 to 19.
The study reflected that a substantial number of the teens engaging in premarital sex were school dropouts, or did not have very active school lives as compared to those who abstained. However, not everyone agrees with this observation. Chong Cheh Hoon, the senior vice-president of Focus on the Family, a charity which helps strengthen families, said she has worked with many students who are top sportsmen and hold good grades, but are still sexually active.
Of the teens surveyed, those who had sex were also more likely to smoke and drink alcohol . Thus, there may be a detectable pattern of behaviour that helps alert parents and educators to teens who may need guidance on sexual matters.
The findings of the study showed that 95 percent of the sexually active boys indulged in pornography. About a quarter of the sexually active girls had experienced sexual abuse. Singapore Children's Society Director Carol Balhetchet agrees with the results of the study. She said that pornography plays a big role in promoting aggressive social behaviour in teenage boys. Chong also agreed that girls who feel "soiled" after sexual abuse may look for approval from a man, thereby leading to more sexual encounters.
Statistics show that sex before marriage may affect the youth negatively as it can lead to unwanted pregnancies, abortions, sexually transmitted diseases and unhealthy relationships. Upon achieving a greater understanding of teenage sexual behaviour and the reasons behind it through studies such as this, the responsibility is upon parents and educators to work with their children to impart a healthy view of sexuality.
While the state, the media and the education system play a significant role in influencing youngsters' attitudes towards sex, parents can do their part at home as well.
Here are some ways to give your teen a fresh perspective on sex: