Teenage Sex can been defined as the involvement of teens in coitus or copulation achieved principally by the insertion and thrusting of the male penis, usually when erect, into the vagina for sexual pleasure, reproduction, or both. The sexual lives of teenagers include a wide range of behaviors, including complete abstinence, masturbation, mutual masturbation, and oral, anal, and vaginal sex. What is more, these behaviors might involve a variety of sexual partners and occur in a number of relational contexts. Failure by sex educators and programs to acknowledge this reality of sexual diversity in the lives of teens results in teens not being well informed of the need for safer sex precautions in different forms of sex.
One the biggest public health challenge of the 21st century is teenage pregnancy. Globally, almost a million girls get pregnant each year. According to the center for disease control, 89 percent of birth by teenage girls occur outside marriage. Available data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that 95% of child birth by adolescents happen in low- and middle-income countries because many teenage girls having sex there do so with little or no idea about safe sex and the repercussions of their actions. The global average birth rate among 15 to 19 year old teenagers is 49 per 1000 girls while the highest rates of up to 299 were recorded in sub-Saharan Africa.
Teenage pregnancy In Nigeria, has become one of the most important public health problem. In the country an estimated 23 percent of women aged 15-19 years have begun childbearing, of which 17 percent have had their first child and 5 percent are pregnant with their first child. Despite the tradition and culture of the people which supposedly uphold high moral standards the incidence of teenage pregnancies outside marriage in both urban and rural areas is unacceptably high. The National Population Commission (NPC) reported that more teenage girls in Nigeria are getting pregnant, stressing that the occurrence of teenage pregnancy in the country might increase to over 60 million in two years if urgent steps are not taken to curb the trend.
Why Are Many Teenage Girls and Boys In Nigeria Having Sex and the Girls getting Pregnant ?
There are several factors responsible for teenage pregnancy in Nigeria, the major causes of teenage pregnancy In Nigeria are :
Peer Pressure From Sexually Active Teens
Peer pressure is the major factor that influence teens when it comes to sex. During adolescence, most teenagers often feel pressure to make friends and fit in with their peers. Often times these teens let their friends influence their decision to have sex even when they do not fully understand the repercussion and consequences associated with the act.
Lack of Guidance From Parents
Lack of parental guidance is among the major causes of teenage pregnancy in Nigeria. Teen girls are more likely to have sex and get pregnant if the have limited or no guidance from their parents. These days many parents have busy schedules that prevent them from providing the needed guidance and support that their young teenagers require to make good decisions on issues such as sex.
Glamorization of Teen Pregnancy By The Media , Social Media and Movies
The media significantly contribute to teenage pregnancy in Nigeria by the manner in which they glamorize teenage pregnancy stories and movies. Movies that depict teenage pregnancy as something to be desired encourage teens to engage in reckless sexual activity that often lead to teen pregnancy. The new scourge of ”baby mama ship” is also exacerbating the teenage pregnancy epidemic in the country, the epidemiology of teenage pregnancy in Nigeria will be incomplete without without an analysis of their contribution to the menace.
Lack of Knowledge and Sex Education
Scholars have linked lack of proper sex education to the high prevalence of teenage pregnancy in Nigeria. Many teenagers who are uneducated about sex are more likely to have an unintended pregnancy. Some teens do not fully understand the biological, psychological and emotional responsibilities associated with having sex. A study which provided an overview of the history of teenage pregnancy in Nigeria published by the University of Nigeria Nsukka in 1994, advocated for the introduction of sex education into the secondary school curriculum in Nigeria to help teenage girls appreciate and respect their bodies to avoid stories that touch.
Sexual Abuse or Rape
Sexual exploitation is also a major contributing factor to the incidence teenage pregnancy in Nigeria. Teens can become pregnant as a result of sexual abuse or rape. The Guttmacher Institute states that between 43 and 62 percent of pregnant teenagers acknowledge that they were impregnated by an adult male, and two-thirds report that their babies’ fathers are as old as 27. Approximately 5 percent of all teen births are the result of a rape.
Drug, Alcohol Abuse and Teenage Drinking Habits
Teenage pregnancy outside marriage is very common among girls Northern Nigeria who abuse codeine containing syrups, teen alcohol drinking habits can also cause an unexpected pregnancy. Teens experiment with drugs and alcohol which lowers a teenagers ability to control her impulses, contributing to 75 percent of pregnancies that occur between the ages 14 and 21.
Lust for Fashion and Other Material Gains
Many teenage girls in Nigeria have had sex , gotten pregnant and ruined their lives just on a promise of something as little as a phone or GSM phone recharge cards. For some it was a fashion item or promise of something a girl has been longing to have and due to financial constraints unable to purchase.
The impact of teenagers having sex in Nigeria and the consequence of teenage pregnancy complicates the lives of young people and significantly affect their abilities to build a purposeful and meaningful life , below are 7 things teenage sex and pregnancy destroys:
Sex Facts for Teenagers# 1 Teenage Sex and Pregnancy Destroys Your Educational Plans
Most teenage girls get pregnant for their peers while in school. This temporarily short circuits their education or significantly affects academic performace. While some are expelled from school others return to school to discover that while they dropped out of school to have their babies, their peers have moved on after completing their studies. Studies have shown that 40% of teen mothers are unable to pursue higher education.
Sex Facts for Teenagers#2 Teenage Sex and Pregnancy Destroys Self Esteem
Teen pregnancies can severely affect self-esteem, the shame , disgrace and family embarrassment could sometimes be unbearable to the young adult forcing them into self-isolation and its inherent consequences.
Sex Facts for Teenagers#3 Teenage Sex ans Pregnancy Often Leads to Depression
Teenage pregnancy is accompanied with a lot of emotional and psychological stress. Social and societal alienation during this period are responsible for the high rates of depression and suicide recorded among pregnant teenagers.
Sex Facts for Teenagers#4 Teenage Sex and Pregnancy Often lead to Homelessness, Destitution and Prostitution
Many pregnant teens are rejected by their families who see them as disappointments. In a bid to make ends meet and cater for needs most pregnant teens with nowhere to go turn to prostitution and other antisocial behaviors for survival.
Sex Facts for Teenagers#5 Teenage Sex and Pregnancy Could Lead to Medical Complications.
The bodies of many pregnant teens are not ready for child bearing, they are most times anatomically and emotionally unprepared. The increased risk of birth defects and complications during child birth is major ‘’demon’’ every pregnant teen must face.Many have also died in their attempt to self-abort their babies.
Sex Facts for Teenagers#6 Teenage Sex and Pregnancy Often Lead to Drug Abuse
Pregnant teenagers often turn to drug abuse to escape the physical, mental, and psychological trauma of their condition. The use of these substances over a long period of time transform them into addicts even after the birth of their children.
Sex Facts for Teenagers#7 Teenage Sex and Teenage Pregnancy Can destroys families
When a girl gets pregnant, the crisis that sometimes erupts in the immediate family could consume the marriage of her parents. The tension generated by the disappointment could permanently alter the lives of the family members. In addition, family friends who were hitherto close to the family might begin to distance their wards from the affected family as a precaution.
Permission is hereby granted for the use of whole or parts of this article provided appropriate credit is given to www.publichealth.com.ng
Public Health Nigeria an Interdisciplinary public health movement focused on health education, advancing fair public health policies, promoting fitness, healthy diets, responsible behavior, community health and general well-being.