The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

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The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

The Nature of Teen Sex

As animals of our species, as humans, our only goal in life is to reproduce, to be fruitful and multiply. As far as biology is concerned, we hit puberty after roughly 12 years and are suddenly ready to procreate. Of course with people, things are never simple. Our society puts limits and restrictions on sexual behavior. We have laws and social expectations to guide us. Religion , too , has a huge influence on the subject. The biggest point of contention in recent years has been sex among teenagers. In the past few decades, there has been a rise in teen pregnancy rates. With it came a push for awareness among teens and parents, a push for abstinence-only se x ed . V irginity pledges a nd groups promoting the cause of abstinence are commonplace, and d ebate on every topic from abortion to zygotes. It’s been called a national crisis, an epidemic situation. The Internet is filled with information devoted to teen sex: how to stop it, how to protect against it, how to say no to it. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion on the topic. Despite all this , the decision to have sex remains an intensely personal choice. "I decided to do it," said an anonymous senior. "I’m not against those who say you shouldn’t, but it’s good for you. The body has needs that you shouldn’t suppress. You wouldn’t go hungry, would you? It’s the same thing." "I don’t think it’s a big deal," junior Ne i l Gerstein said , "a s long as people exercise self control about it. I know a lot of people don’t, but if you can do that , then it’s okay." Of course , there are those less liberally minded. Many people are extremely opposed to the idea of teens having sex. "Personally, I don’t think it’s right," junior Liz Kaloupek said. "I was raised all my life with a Christian background that says you aren’t supposed to have sex before marriage. For my own morals, to respect myself, I will be happier if I don’t have premarital sex. "If you are really in love with the person you should be able to wait," agree sophomores Anna Kilzer and Sara Anderson. "Plans and feelings can change. What if you have sex with someone and it doesn’t work out? It’s not worth the regret." Not everyone has such strong convictions on the matter. A great deal of us simply don’t know what to think. We live in a culture that is simultaneously obsessed and afraid of sex. "Our society makes it very confusing," sociology teacher Chad Zmolek said. "I can see why it is such a taboo subject. We don’t know the guidelines. We don’t really have a sense of what is right and what is wrong. The only things we know are the extremes and that doesn’t tell you anything about yourself." "Because we don’t talk about it, people are only exposed to these two opposites," Zmolek said. "You’re either the Madonna or a whore, and nobody is either of those things all the time." It’s a fair statement. Kids are often put that position, expected to conform to arguably unreasonable standard then chastised for falling short.

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