Having sex in high school can affect students emotionally, physically, and socially
Mary Dupuis ’19
Posted on Thursday, June 14th, 2018
According to childtrends.org, as of March 2017 about one third of all high school students participate in sexual intercourse. With this many students choosing to participate, the effects of these actions on the emotions and minds of the students involved are up for questioning.
Sex can mean many different things to many different people. A casual hook up, pressure, revenge, or an intimate way to show your love for another person all influence whether people choose to participate. However, there are many reasons why people may choose not to as well.
Some students choose not to participate in sex due to their religious beliefs and morals.
“Growing up I wasn’t really religious or didn’t believe in anything, but my parents always told me to respect and know my own worth. So, I always knew that I had to wait until I really thought I was ready,” says junior Madison Elya. “Then, recently, when I was saved, I really started understanding how important it is and the importance it has on my religion and my relationship with God,” adds Elya.
Elya feels that while choosing to wait is a personal decision, it has a negative connotation among those who do not feel the same way.
“There definitely is a stigma to people who are waiting or to people who are religious, because they’ll be seen as prudes or they think they’re better than everyone else or that they judge others, but really that’s not the case. It’s a personal belief,” says Elya.
Even students who have participated in sex before have decided to wait until marriage to ever do it again due to their religious beliefs.
“I’m waiting to do it again until marriage because of my religion. I’ve always believed in waiting until marriage. But, I broke that promise and I regret it, not only because it was wrong and the age wasn’t appropriate, but it’s wrong in God’s eyes to just fall into lust if you’re not married to the person, that’s not your spouse,” says junior Tucker Hughes*.
Hughes believes that if you do choose to participate in sex before marriage, you should make sure that you will be married to that person later in life.
“You shouldn’t have sex with more than one person in your entire life. So, if you can’t wait until marriage, because I know temptation is real, make sure that you both one hundred percent know that you are going to be together forever,” says Hughes.
However, not all students decide to take the path of waiting. Whether the students that do choose to have sex participate in it due to peer pressure, trying to grow up too fast, or by choice, the reasons are wide ranging.
“I was pressured into it, because everyone around me was doing it and I really was in a weird situation where it kind of just happened. I didn’t make the first move. It kind of happened to me and usually I would resist it, but all my friends were doing it so I figured I have to do it too. Peer pressure drove me to do it; I regret it,” says Hughes.
While senior Aliyah Williams* says that it just happened for her as well, she claims that it was her choice and she does not regret it. “Yeah I have [taken part in a sexual act]. I did it because I liked the person and it just happened. I don’t regret it,” says Williams.
Social Worker Roxanne Barzone feels that students’ readiness for sex and the reasons that they decide to participate in it can vary based on age or even their hopes for making their relationship more secure.
“It really depends on the student and their level of mental health, as well as the reasons they’re doing it. I would suppose there would be kids, maybe the older kids, who might be okay. I think for a lot of kids, it can be confusing. I think it can cause them to feel that they have to be more committed to relationships that they’re not really ready for,” says Barzone. “One student may be more ready for a real relationship and think that sex is sealing the deal and find out otherwise; and I think it can cause a lot of anxiety and jealousy and depression if those expectations aren’t filled. So, I think it’s more pressure sometimes on a relationship and on the kids,” adds Barzone.Regardless of how or why it happened, students don’t feel that having sex affected them mentally as much as emotionally.
“I don’t think it affected me mentally. I look at things kind of different. Going from not doing something with somebody to [doing something] does kind of change how you see things a little,” says Williams.
Freshman Connor Miller* agrees, and feels that, while it may not have changed him mentally, it did change his outlook on things.
“I don’t think it affected me mentally, no. I guess it kind of makes you feel different after the first time, once you kind of think about it,” says Miller.
Barzone believes that whether students notice it or not, having sex at this age can impact their emotional state as well as their academics and social life in high school. “I don’t think I can generalize to everybody, but let’s say for the kids who are less ready, less mature, less committed to a relationship, I think it can affect them academically in high school and emotionally,” says Barzone.
According to Barzone, students who have not participated in sex may find life easier.
“I think it can affect their ability to sometimes form the friendships that may be more important than the relationship. I think that some girls and guys who are involved earlier than they’re ready for it end up having less fun sometimes. Sometimes the kids who have a strong peer group versus just one significant relationship can have less drama and a little more fun and a little more ease,” says Barzone.
With all of these heavy resulting effects, students feel that sex is taken much too lightly in high school and it does
not hold the level of importance and intimacy that it used to.
“I think [sex] is taken too lightly, I think it needs to be taken a little more seriously. I think most people just joke about it. I know especially freshman boys, we like to joke about it and all that but some people don’t realize that some things can really mess the rest of your life up or things are really not worth it,” says Miller.
Hughes also feels that the dangers of sex need to be weighed before students choose to participate.
“I feel that sex is taken way too lightly because, first of all, it’s dangerous. You don’t know what you can get and then early parenthood is another factor. Truly, it’s just not meant to be unless it’s with someone you truly love,” says Hughes.
Elya agrees and feels that knowledge about and the act of sex itself is not talked of enough.
“I definitely think that in today’s day and age it’s so easy to just look right past it and not think of it as an actual act of intimacy, it’s more of just doing it to do it or doing it because it’s cool because you’re pressured into it,” says Elya. “I definitely think on the other hand that we don’t talk about it enough in school and we don’t have proper sex education because there’
s that hush hush stigma about it,” adds Elya.
On the flip side of the coin, health teacher Chad Ballee feels that enough is taught in the health class at South Lake and students are given the knowledge and barrier methods that they may need when choosing to participate.
“We are abstinence based. What we do in health is we provide the ways to protect yourself, but we prefer that it be abstinence based. I do think enough is taught in health class to teach students ho
w to be safe when it comes to sex,” says Ballee.
Ultimately, it is up to those students of legal age to decide whether or not they are ready to have sex in high school. However, there are many factors to consider. Whether it be emotional problems, social stigmas, or physical health problems, there are many complications to be taken into consideration.
*Names have been changed to protect student identity
Illustration by Calla Milberg