I want the carrot - not the stick] An open letter from a teenager. Educator update

Posit Outlook. Winter 1997;4(2):25, 31.


PIP: Teens generally ignore adults' admonitions to abstain from sexual intercourse largely because it is in their nature to rebel against authority, to experiment and explore, and to follow the sexual urges inherent to all adolescents. Hormones and growing bodies; movies, magazines, and TV shows which depict cool people having sex; the drive to fit it with peers' expectations and behavior; feelings of love; and coercion are all forces which push teens into having sex. It is pointless to preach to teens about the evils of sex. Education on sex and sexuality must instead be positive. Rather than dwell upon the negative consequences of having sex as a teenager, proponents of safer sex or no sex among adolescents should stress what good will come from protecting oneself or waiting until later in life to have sex. Do not tell teens what to do and what to expect, rather show them and let them pose questions. In so doing, teens will become empowered to control their own sexual behavior as they see fit. An appropriate strategy involves considering with the adolescent why people do certain things, what one's goals are, how those goals can be achieved, what will impede that achievement, and how to overcome the barriers to one's desired accomplishments.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent*
  • Age Factors
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Behavior
  • Counseling*
  • Demography
  • Family Planning Services
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Planning
  • Health Planning Guidelines*
  • Organization and Administration
  • Population
  • Population Characteristics
  • Sexual Abstinence*
  • Sexual Behavior*