03 Sept 2012
Four out of 10 teenagers have no clue that a single episode of sex could lead to pregnancy. Shocking though this may sound, these are the results of a Pune–based study published in the latest issue of the Indian Journal of Psychiatry.
The study conducted by a team of Pune doctors, led by psychiatrist Dr R Shashikumar, covered 586 students of standards IX to XII from two city co–ed schools.
The study titled ‘A cross–sectional study of factors associated with adolescent sexual activity’ revealed that 30% boys and 17% girls covered in the study have had some form of sexual contact. While the average age of the first sexual experience for boys was 13.72 years, for girls it was 14.09 years.
Nearly 30% boys felt that having sex proves their masculinity and boys, who faced some form of sexual abuse in their childhood, were more likely to initiate sexual contact, said the study.
However, more shocking findings are that only 41% girls and 53% boys know that a single episode of sex could lead to pregnancy. “Nowadays adolescents are used to late night parties and sometimes even alcohol. Our study found out that one in two boys and 40% girls accept that late night parties increase the likelihood of having sex. More than one in three boys felt that consuming alcohol increased indulgence in sex. And, these findings should serve as an eye– opener for parents and schools," said Dr Shashikumar. He added that the study points towards the need to start more detailed lifestyle skill workshops with children.
“Just simple sex education isn’t enough. Even that is not necessarily given in all schools. Besides protection against pregnancy, teenagers need to be taught life skills. For instance, teach adolescents going to a late night party to go in groups, not leave drinks unattended and not to go to washrooms alone. It has become necessary that adolescents are given this kind of education too," opined Shashikumar.
Meanwhile, child psychiatrists agreed with the findings stating that sex education is very important in schools.
"Adolescents are experimenting with their sexualities and these days where party culture and alcohol consumption is so common, chances of sexual contact are definitely higher. In certain situations like a girl seeing a an older boy, attending parties with parents not around are cases where things could go out of hand. And that is why imparting life skills to adolescents about dealing with such situations rather than denying such things is better," said child psychiatrist Dr Bhooshan Shukla.