Teens and Virginity – Holding on to Morals, Ethics, Values and Expectations
How do deal with peer pressure
Teens are much more conscious today of how they look and fit in, and together with adolescent physical changes, they also need to deal with emotional and behavioral change. When all of these things come together, it becomes natural for them to think about sex and romantic love – this comes with the territory as they seek out more independence. The good news is that more teens are choosing virginity over casual sex, but on the flip side of the coin, the numbers of teens making this choice are still not as many as we would like to see.
Parents need to know that there are many sexual pressures in teen society today. They also need a clear understanding of what the ‘sexual pressures’ are, in order to assist their children to accept sexual purity. There are many influences which lead to teen decisions to engage in or abstain from premarital sex, where ‘sexual scripts’ within a community influence decisions and expectations of a sexual nature.
Sexual scripts are like the ‘unwritten rules’ on sexual morals, ethics and values. They are a deep-seated part of norms in a society or community. These are ‘popular scripts’ which are handed down by peers, the media, and friends, and they shape teen perceptions of sexual expectations. Parental or religious beliefs often become ‘competing scripts’. Competing scripts also often fade into the scenery and become lost to the teen. In other words; peer sexual choices, matter to teens.
This indicates that peer driven sexual scripts or peer pressure is more easily believed. A good example is the fact that teens believe their peers to be thigh-deep in the hook-up culture, and having more sex than they actually are. The reality is that there are many myths regarding the peer hook-up culture, with less teens hooking up for liaisons of a sexual nature than is actually believed.
Research has found that there are two scenarios where the sexual hook-up culture proliferates; this is with non-college educated teens and teens in elite private schools. The presence of fraternities, access to alcohol, high-flying social life and non-stop partying also makes matters worse. Research has also determined there are sexual myths that every family should be made aware of, and should in fact be required reading; these include but are not limited to:
- Having sex is part of being grown up
- I am the only virgin left in my peer group/age group/school
- If I don’t he will break up with me
- With true love the next step is sex
It is important for parents to help their teens to find their own unique personalities without them believing in these myths (sexual scripts) and others like them. Motivation to make positive decisions can only be accomplished by positive, empathetic encouragement. A teen needs to have their self-esteem boosted in order to feel good about themselves, then the more self esteem they have, the more likely they will be to make positive decisions. They need to be trusted to make their own decisions and be given the responsibility to do this, so, teaching them to hold onto morals and ethics and accept setbacks is also very important. With the correct support they will learn from their experiences, and when surrounded by like-minded people they will commit more easily to common sexual ethics.