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Societal Problems of Teenage Sex

Teenage sexuality creates many problems in American society and is seen as contributing to the high rate of illegitimate births, the perpetuation of poverty, the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, and various other social problems related to what has come to be called "children having children." The issue has been studied from a variety of perspectives with an eye to ascertaining the nature of the problem, the response of society, and many other issues. The current battle in schools and other institutions is between those who have capitulated and who believe that the best way to reduce pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases is through the distribution of condoms and those who believe that discouraging teenage sex is the answer and who therefore support programs of abstinence. The reality falls somewhere in between the two.

The number of teenage pregnancies has been alarming for many years, and it seems to be a particular problem in urban and poor areas, though it occurs across all social and demographic lines. Teenage child-bearing creates medical and social problems of a wide variety. Birthrates for both white and black teenagers have declined since 1970, but black teenagers are more likely to have children today than white teenagers, giving the problem a racial tinge. Dash (1989) points out the problem with this: "To me, the birthrates meant that large numbers of black teenagers were adding to their burdens early in life in a world that held them at a disadvantage from birth" (Dash, 1989, 23).

The consequences are devastating. Babies born to teenagers are more likely to be premature, to have low birth weights, to have low cognitive scores, and to die within the first month and the first year of life. Low birth weight is a major cause of death among infants, and it also contributes to serious long-term medical conditions for survivors, including mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, an...

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Societal Problems of Teenage Sex. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 06:46, February 19, 2017, from