Monday, February 14, 2011

The Valentine’s Day And The Rise In Teenage Pregnancy

Valentine’s Day is conceived to be a day of celebrating love. It is a day when people express how much they appreciate another person’s presence in their lives. To some, a Valentine ’s Day is spent by sending flowers, cards, and chocolates. Others greet the day with an I love You declaration to their beloved. Mostly though outline the occasion with sex. And that holds true even among teenagers.

In a brief conversation with a male friend, he said that most of them male species look forward to making out on this particular day, after all, sex, or lovemaking is the highest expression of love. Or is it actually?

In a news item from a mainstream newspaper, teenagers today are bombarded with formidable pressure from internet, media, and peers to engage in pre-marital sex than they were a decade ago. Each year, many of these teenagers look up with their partners to be one in flesh especially on Valentine’s.

“Some 16.5 million Filipinos belong to the 15-24 year old age group. We are forced with a glaring truth that at a very young age, a lot of young people today have children of their own. 30 % of all births belong to this age group; and by the age of 20, 25% of the youth are already mothers.”

Also in that survey, around 64,000 of teenagers incur abortions every year. In a separate report made by World Bank, the Philippines leads 10 countries having a soaring number of teenage mothers with a ratio of 7 pregnant women for every 10 teenagers that are younger than age 19. World Bank attributed teenage pregnancy to higher incidence of poverty, while the former news item argues that pregnancy is spearheaded by gratification of sexual urges.

The pressure to indulge in sexual gratifications forced upon these teenagers is further aggravated by media marketing hyping up the business niche, creating a necessity out of a senseless tradition. Most of the promotions spearheaded a month before Valentine’s insinuate or focus on one thing: sex.

By itself, sex is not a harmful activity. In fact, it is deemed as an instrument of procreation; a gift shared specifically by two individuals bound by mutual love, respect, and sense of responsibility. Nonetheless, when it is practiced by young ones such as teenagers, sexual activity poses a huge problem regardless of the presence of love and all traits.

Yes, in today’s age and technology, pre-marital sex is among the highlights of a teenage life. Youths of the present generation are more aggressive in their behavior and emotions toward the opposite sex than the youth of earlier years.

Whether teenage pregnancy is compelled by mere gratification of sexual urges or necessitated by poverty, both call for immediate solutions if we want to save the future of the next generation. But no, I am no advocate of a solution putting so much emphasis on technically stopping sexually-active teenagers from indulging in pre-marital sex as this could be hard, if not impossible, to achieve, especially if their sexual experiences are marked with favor (For lack of another term).

Education is a powerful tool. Personally, I don’t understand why sex education should not be integrated as a subject or lessons taught in school. I believe that if students are just aware of how puberty can change their body and their reactions to stimulants, and how naked sex (unprotected sex) can lead to unwanted pregnancy, then they would be careful in dealing with their romance.

Couples will not, for instance, do a trial and error sexual intercourse with one another. What if on their first attempt on a Valentine’s Day, the lady is fertile? But how can they know about the role of fertility if it is not taught inside the classroom? Of course, sex education must be coupled with other lessons such as presenting the consequences of unwanted commitments such as early motherhood and the economic benefits young adults could enjoy if they are careful in planning their engagements.

Church, however, despite the separation of powers, continues to mingle with political affairs of the state. Particularly, the Catholic Church remains to be reluctant in acknowledging the potential of sex education because it fears it might encourage young ones to participate in pre-marital sex.

Goodness! It is because of celibacy that taints the reputation of priests and church. It is because of its so-called advocacy of no condom for a contraceptive that compelled a few priests to knock-up women. What an irony for a church imposing a no pre-marital sex policy and no condom for contraceptives among its constituents or believers when the priests are the first to violate such implementation or become the victim of its stupidity!

The Church does not support the use of condom as it is a curtailment of life. Is that so? Isn’t using condoms an exercise of being responsible? Biblically speaking, nowhere can you find a verse excluding the use of condom as part of family planning.

In contrast, even the ancient Romans had their own version of a condom in the form of sheep guts. The Mosaic Law does not apply in our times. But the Reproductive Health Bill, forever pending in the hands of our politicians and which is thought to institutionalize sex education in schools and buttress the use of artificial contraceptives such as condoms is on the verge of being forgotten, if not dismissed.

Moving on, poverty indeed has a role in teenage pregnancy. Parents may not have the time to educate their young ones about sex because they are more concerned about earning for a living. Most often, these kids have become a prey of sexual maniacs in the neighborhood or have chosen to allow others to exploit their body for a meager amount of money.

Mostly, kids are not given guidance on their exposure to media that has itself been used by companies in hyping up their niche even to the point of suggesting and using explicit contents. Many of these kids, boys and girls mimic what they see on televisions and movies when it comes to expressing love through sex or foreplay without the knowledge of their parents.

Seriously, Valentine’s Day has been characterized by sexual activities among others. Today, many people fall victims of a wrong notion of love conveyed by companies and businesses through media and the teenagers in particular, are the helpless victims.

Nevertheless, this is not to say that the occasion itself is the sole culprit of today’s escalating number of teenage pregnancy as these individuals can always have sex on any given day. But many of our teenagers choose Valentine’s Day to lose their virginity. And they do so with strong resolve and without knowing anything on its consequences.

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