The teen years are emotionally trying times for young people. They are no longer children and not yet adults. During this period of growth, some teens take part in risky behavior without worrying about how the conduct could affect their future. Just as some teens turn to drugs and alcohol to relieve their frustrations, others turn to sex. Teen promiscuity, or having casual sexual relations with different partners, is a grim reality in American society and unfortunately, the trend does not appear to be dissipating.
For some teens, sexual promiscuity may be a cry for help. He may be using his promiscuous behavior as a camouflage instead of dealing with important issues. According to the Northern Illinois University College of Education, promiscuity is a serious issue that requires immediate attention. In many cases, sexual promiscuity in teens is a sign of sexual abuse and/or self-esteem issues, or it may be a symptom of depression. Teens may also use sexual promiscuity as a means of defiance when at odds with family.
Sexual promiscuity may also be a way for teens to declare their independence. Teens may use sex as means to prove to the adults in their life that they are old enough to do what they want. This false sense of self is self-destructive and immature. Teens who continue with this behavior over long periods of time tend to carry their promiscuous ways into adulthood, compromising intimate relationships and sacrificing the overall health of their bodies.
3. Disease and Pregnancy
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), cancer and pregnancy all have ties to teen promiscuity. According to Liberty University, approximately 8,000 American teens per day acquire an STD infection. Such diseases include genital herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV and syphilis. Alarmingly, some of these teens infected are as young as 14 years old. The human papillomavirus (HPV), transmitted through sexual contact, has links to cervical cancer. Diseases aside, approximately one million teen girls every year learn they are pregnant.
Although it may be difficult for parents to talk to their teens about sex, it is imperative to do so. This is especially true if you feel your teen is engaging in promiscuous behavior. The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services website explains that neurological, psychological and psychosexual assessments are sometimes necessary to determine the cause of the promiscuity. Treatments for the behaviors may involve group therapy, family therapy, behavioral therapy and admittance into a residential treatment facility.
- Northern Illinois University College of Education: Sexual Promiscuity
- Northern Illinois University College of Education: Sexual Promiscuity in Adolescents
- Liberty University: Youth Celebrate the Fifth Annual Day of Purity With a Positive Message of Change
- Washington State Department of Social and Health Services: Working With Children Exhibiting Sexual Behavior Problems Washington Edition Participant Guide
- Psychology Today: A Link Between Sexual Promiscuity and Depression in Teens
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images