Sex as a Rite of Passage

Most first teenage sex has nothing to do with love. It has to do with seeing sexual intercourse as an important rite of passage into adult life. Those who have had sex often urge their virgin peers along. “Oh, come on, you haven't done it yet? What's the matter with you? When are you going to grow up?!”

Although this may sound strange to parents, many teenagers just have sex to get “it” over with. Now the boy can feel like he's a “man.” Now the girl can feel like she's a “woman.” No wonder so many teenagers need alcohol or drugs to get themselves through an experience they feel they have to have, but do not really want.

So parents may want to give several countermessages.

  • “Having sex doesn't make you an adult; being able to make sound and responsible decisions makes you an adult.”

  • “What you decide to do with your body should depend on what you want and believe, and not on the urgings and opinions of friends.”

  • “As far as we're concerned, it's more grown up to wait for doing grown-up things like having sex than doing them before you're ready and risking harm.”

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