Parents Need More Active Role in Sex Education

Sexual initiation in earlier age for adolescents can lead to a considerably higher risk of getting an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection), a new study carried out in South Korea tells us.

According to the lead author, i.e. Seo Yoon Lee who is from the Seoul Yonsei University’s Institute of Health Services Research, they are suggesting that parents need to worry about why and how their kids need to have sex earlier in their life, instead of simply wondering why they are doing it.

In Korea, the parents usually avoid conversations related to sex. Plus, the sex education content hasn’t been changed in the last decade, despite the fact that kids are getting more access towards online sexual materials at very younger ages.

The data used by the researchers was from a web-based national survey of behaviours related to youth risk that was administered on an annual basis by the Korean Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

Overall, over 525,000 kids from 7th to 12th grades took part in the survey during the years 2007 and 2013. About 4% of these kids stated they had sexual intercourse and only their responses got considered for the study.

The teens further stated when they initially had first intercourse, and the answers ranged from prior to elementary school, to during 12th grade.

Nearly 7% of teens who had intercourse stated they had contracted an STI, such as Chlamydia, syphilis, HIV infection, gonorrhoea, or some other infection.

As the age at the first sexual intercourse went down, the amount of teens who had contracted an STI went straight up, mostly in boys, as per the results given by the Journal of Sexual Medicine. As compared with kids who had their first sexual intercourse in the 12th grade, for example, those who had their first sexual intercourse in the 7th grade were 3 times likelier to have contracted an STI.

Lee stated, “We believe that kids or students who had sex at an earlier age, without getting precise sex education, are more likely to have risky sex.” He further added, “Sex at an earlier age means that they’d have several sex partners as their period for sexual activities becomes longer.”

According to another study carried out in 2012, on average, teens from South Korea had their first intercourse around the age of 15. However, in the study, many of the teens who surveyed stated that they had intercourse first prior to elementary school or in the 1st or 2nd grade, which means an age of about 9 years or even younger.

Patricia Cavazos from Washington University School of Medicine was not involved in this study, but she believes that this is a very young age at which one would have sex. While it is equally surprising, it also begs the query that whether their responses are accurate.

Follow-up queries which garner added information regarding the event can help in determining the accuracy of their responses, Cavazos suggests. If their responses are deemed as accurate, there will still be uncertainty whether the youth consented to sex at the early age.

She further added that the researchers carried out the study on the 4% of all the teens for addressing the questions of their research, and as such the findings of the study account for a relatively smaller percentage of the youth population in Korea.

Lee said that we also believe these ages are significantly young. The survey might be overestimating the accurate amount of kids who had sex at such a young age, or a few of them could’ve been considerably mature kids who had partners that were older aged such as middle or high schoolers. It is possible to believe of the abuse as well. Yet again, it is significantly hard to inquire why.

Sex at an earlier age can lead to other risky behaviours in health such as unprotected sex that increases the chance of STIs, and riskier options in general, according to Cavazos. Testing is available online from websites such as Home Diagnostics. This could make the situation easier.

Parents need to be mindful of such possibilities and as such, they need to act accordingly. They need to talk to their children about education on sex and also the essentiality of delaying intercourse until it is experienced in a safe and responsible manner.

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