Knowing these kinds of things--with whom and when other people
lose their virginity, how many people (about 75%) have premarital sex
with how many (1 to 5) partners, the more active 40% of women have
10 sexual partners or more (Knox, 1984), how often promiscuity
before marriage continues afterwards, etc.--may not be highly helpful
in making decisions about your sex life. Yet, an informed person knows
the facts about other people without feeling the need to follow the
herd. A knowledgeable person considers the pros and cons of many
alternative courses of action, such as the different sexual life styles
discussed above. An example: any observer of young people has seen
7th and 8th graders (not all) fall in and out of "love" quickly; many 13-
year-olds have a new heartthrob every week or two. Some 18 or 19-
year-olds (not all) become so infatuated so quickly that they can not
possibly foresee potential problems. If young people become aware of
the many emotional roller-coasters and sexual pitfalls, like these, they
would, hopefully, develop more self-control and, at least, reduce their
emotional pain and avoid unplanned pregnancies. That is what self-
help and being informed should be all about.
Guard against unwanted pregnancy
Unfortunately, sexual intercourse produces babies. (Think of the
advantages of sex just being for fun and love, then, when ready, going
to Wal-Mart to get a new baby for $999.98.) 57% of all U.S.
pregnancies are unplanned or unwanted. About one third of all U. S.
babies are born "out of wed lock." 80% of teenaged mothers are
unwed, 80% didn't want or plan their pregnancy, and 80% go on
welfare. European teenagers have as much sex as we do, but our
pregnancy rate is 2 to 6 times higher than theirs. Why? Because we
don't educate and train our teenagers in sexual matters.
Unwanted pregnancy is a terrible problem for the terrified,
embarrassed, confused teenage girl, for the panicked college coed who
dreads the disruption of her life, of her relationship with the guy, and
of having an abortion or a baby, for the married woman who says, "Oh
God! I don't want a child now--I can't handle it," and for society that
pays billions for aid to unwanted-at-this-time children. Consider this:
the approximately 4-6 million sexually active American teenage girls
have over one million pregnancies and 400,000 abortions each year.
About 40% of all American teenage females get pregnant in their
teens. That's at least double the percentage in any other educated,
developed country. What's wrong with us? We can't blame all teenage
pregnancies on innocence because 1 in 5 teenage mothers get
pregnant again within two years. Two-thirds of teen mothers are
impregnated by 20-year-old men or older; many are "predators,"
fathering several children with several women.
As we saw earlier, about one-fourth of U.S. 15-year-olds have had
sex and by 18 two-thirds have had. Only 7 out of 10 use a
contraceptive the first time but if they become "sexually active" 9 out