St. John ’ s Counselling Service Well-Being Series. Sex and the Teenage Brain: “ Do We Really Have to Talk About This Now? ”. Dr. Mark L. Gandolfi, PhD, MSc, MS Executive Director – St. John ’ s Counselling Service. Disclaimer . . .
Sex and the Teenage Brain:
“Do We Really Have to Talk About This Now?”
Dr. Mark L. Gandolfi, PhD, MSc, MS
Executive Director – St. John’s Counselling Service
Tonight’s presentation on sexuality is by no means ever intended to offend, disrespect, replace and/or disregard the religious, spiritual, cultural and/or family values you may have on this subject matter.
The intent is to share with you one view point among many about a topic that affects us all: sexuality. The myths, the misunderstandings, the bad science, the ineffective health care policies, the lack of accurate information and engaging resources are many challenges we face in educating our children on sexuality.
We hope tonight’s presentation answers a few questions, increases your clarity in guidance and further strengthens the health and happiness of your child.
The Song: I’m Saving Myself for Marriage
The Whisper: only a “slut” would have sex before marriage
Sex and Education?: can you repeat the question again? It simply did not happen in most education environments
Sex and the Media: except for the rare “underground blue movies” that were hard to find, beyond the passionate kiss in a love scene outside a bedroom, you did not see a bra strap, or for that matter, a breast
Sex and Teenage Pregnancy: the highest rates for teenage pregnancy were seen in the 1960’s, typically the time period researchers use to benchmark/compare teenage birthrates and abortions over the subsequent decades
Sex and Promiscuity: research sporadic, best estimate 15% of teens had sexual intercourse
The Song: If You Can’t Be With The One You Love, Love The One You’re With
The Whisper: “nice” girls also have sex
Sex and Education?: can you repeat the question again? It still did not happen in most education environments. Educators, politicians and others still believed that sex education would make our teenagers horny, out-of-control and partaking in Roman orgies
Sex and the Media: known as the “Sexual Revolution” period, birth control, sex before marriage, mini-skirts, foul language in movies and more relaxation with nudity in movies forever changed America’s (and eventually other countries) landscape
Sex and Teenage Pregnancy: 13 – 15 y/o’s still remained at high rates whereas other teen age groups starting to decline.
Sex and Promiscuity: Number started to grow, high as 40%
The Song: Abstain, Abstain for Anything Else Will Cause Pain
The Whisper: are you on the “pill?”
Sex and Education?: to appease those who believed sex education was “normal” and not harmful, Sex Education 101 was basically anatomy and physiology, Sex Education 102 was abstain, abstain
Sex and the Media: known as the “Safe Sex” period, STD’s and AID’s were the focus followed by the various feminist movements that gave women more say and control over their bodies
Sex and Teenage Pregnancy: pregnancy trends became replaced with STD and HIV trends. The fear of getting pregnant because of sex before marriage was now replaced with “since you are going to do it anyway before marriage, please take precautions!”
Sex and Promiscuity: The numbers of teenagers having sexual intercourse climbed closer to 49%
The Song: Sext Me Up Baby Like A Love Song Baby
The Whisper: do you want to hook-up?
Sex and Education?: Not only do we need to better understand what to teach in sex education, but more importantly, how
Sex and the Media: It’s everywhere . . .
Sex and Teenage Pregnancy: Continues to drop each year for many reasons, birth control and sex education being main causes. “Combating” teenage pregnancy is on of 6 top activities for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Sex and Promiscuity: the growing concern is that 40% of teens felt pressured, coerced and/or under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they had their first intercourse
What we do know:
Teen Drug Use:
Marijuana use up 80% since 2008
1 out of 10 teens smoke pot 10 times a month
Teen Drug Addiction: 8%
Focus in this age group now is on drugs and alcohol , it is only a matter of time the digital issue will cross over
The largest age group for drug abuse and drug addiction is the 13 – 17 age bracket – not the unemployed adult!
Internet abuse and internet addiction is rapidly taking over as the “drug of choice” for many teen brains around the world.
East Yorkshire has a 8 year old boy in care for regular heroin use
First Drug Use (number of initiates)
Hospital in Lancashire recently had two infants (24 months old) admitted for alcohol intoxication
Sex education may be a good idea in the schools, but I don't believe the kids should be given homework.
You cannot have sex education without saying that sex is natural and that most people find it pleasurable.
Study released by the U.S. Department of Health showed abstinence programs were ineffective, non-empowering and counter-productive for teens
It is a normal teenage developmental process for the first crush, the first date, the first kiss, the first puppy love, and yes . . . . the first time trying sex.
Not only does puberty start earlier with each generation (some studies show by 2 weeks with each generation), we must also understand that a body may be fully mature by the age of 18, the psycho-social development of a person does not stop until 23 -25 years of age
There are far more similarities than differences between the male and female brains. Many argue that the differences we do see in sexuality is more of a learned behavior than an instinctual one
We now know more about the human brain (especially the teen brain) in the last 5 years than the past 2,000 years combined,
We find the money and keep spending (more) money on health care education and prevention each year (sometimes as much as 15% of a country’s GDP) and we now have a new profession dedicated to this called health psychology,
Yet we highlight each year how almost universally 40% of teenage males don’t use condoms, 79% of females don’t use birth control, 25%of teenage females will experience an STD, 8,000 female teens contract HIV each year, and less than 40% of teens ever get tested for STD’s,
so why are we not winning this war? Why?
We educate way too late
We stop educating way too soon!
We educate way too late
We stop educating way too soon!
I have never thought about my sexuality being right or wrong. To me it has always been a case of finding the right person.George Michael
Sex education has to do with what's in people's head.Donna Shalala
In other words,
CIP – [Put Your] Cellphone In PantiesCU46 – See You For SexCULKN – Home AloneDL – Down Low (an African -American looking for homosexual sex)DUM – Do You Masturbate?
FWB – Friends With Benefits (casual sex)
GEN – Generous, i.e. someone who pays for sexGNOC – Get Naked On Cam
H4T – Hot For TeacherHHST – Horny High School Teacher
LRJO – Locker Room Masturbation
S4HW – Sex for Homework
And thousands of others . . .
what is sex:
It says you are gay or straight
It has to do with my body
Sat virgin or not
It’s awesome and feels good
Only place I find human connection
It leads to a relationship
It keeps a relationship
It’s expected in a relationship
And so many more . . .
We have long too often focused on “sexual trends” and those societal factors that influence the trends, yet we have spent little time and effort understanding how to parent and educate an adolescent brain in areas of teenage sexuality within personality development.
Teenagers more than ever are being presented with sexual stimuli (societal-cultural norms, art, music, movies, books, Internet, etc) in their daily lives but receive little to no to inadequate preparation to behave responsibly in a sexual environment.
Once values have been taught, we then proceed with teaching SELF-IMAGE (sense of sense and self-esteem) topics to further develop their sense of self-control and self-monitoring behaviors.
We must FIRST and foremost start with teaching kids about VALUES. When teaching kids about values we provide each and every one of them a sense of identity, purpose and guidance.
When teaching special topics within sexuality, one primary goal is to improve communication skills with the teenager and the caretakers of that teenager to enhance physical and mental well-being.
When teaching special topics within sexuality, another primary goal is to improve self-delaying gratification behaviors with the teenager and the caretakers of that teenager to enhance physical and mental well-being.
Adolescence is one of the most important personality development periods for the human brain, unfortunately, it is also a time where teens may experience gender confusion (which gender do they prefer sexually).
Adolescence is one of the most important personality development periods for the human brain, unfortunately, it is also a time where teens may experience bi-gender sexual experiences (kissing boys and girls).
Before one can properly address a problem, there must be a clear understanding of the puzzle. The puzzle in sexuality education is the person, the problem in sexuality education is lack of knowledge.