Social Expectations are Frustrating the Safe Sex Message

With billions of dollars being pumped into advertising the safe sex message throughout the media, many people still are not aware of the possible dangers of unprotected sex and teenage pregnancy.

In both developed and underdeveloped countries, the message is considered common knowledge and most people are able to see that there are dangers in these forms of activities.

Safe Sex MessageThe Lancet revealed in a study that the message of unprotected sex and teenage pregnancies, as seen in these advertisements, is not adopted by various cultures. There has been acknowledgment of the possible dangers to teens that engage in unprotected sex, but most overlook the facts. What this means is that there are cultures which are more prone to having increased cases of STD’s and other problems associated with under age sexual contact.

People who engage in sexual activity with multiple partners are at a greater risk of contracting and spreading STD’s because they prefer to have sexual contact without the use of protection. This was mainly observed in developed countries.

Yet, even though developed countries have more people engaging in this form of risky activity, they do not carry the highest rate of STD’s. Also, HIV/AIDS are not rampant in these developed countries either.

It’s Africa and Asia that still carry the highest rate of HIV/AIDS and other STD’s. This has led researchers to the conclusion that countries, which have high GDPs and strong economies, have a smaller rate of STD transmissions. Economics play an important role with sexual cleanliness.

Another shocking find of the Lancet is the perception that exists in developed countries regarding the use of condoms. Most are aware of the possible illnesses of having unprotected sex but there still is hesitance to use condoms because of what they fear society might perceive.

One such example of these perceptions is the unwillingness of teenagers to carry condoms around. Girls believe if people see them with condoms, they will be considered promiscuous. Boys do not carry them because they wish to be viewed as manly.

Such social perceptions have hampered the safe sex message as both boys and girls do not wish to be caught with condoms even though, this opens them up to the possibly of catching an STD or becoming pregnant.

The results of their research into the sexual attitudes among teens should shift the focus on what needs to be taught in sex education. Most teens are already aware of the benefits of using protection, as well as abstinence; the media has gone to many lengths to have the message constantly propagated. Sexual education class should focus on dispelling society perceptions of those who use condoms as protection. Most teens are extremely emotional so sexual encounters will happen.

By using a condom, many pregnancies and STD’s can be avoided. Most educators, as well as parents, find this task a challenge. Changing the perception of others is not a cake walk. Having open communication, as well as consistent counseling and support, is one such way to get rid of these perceptions.