Warning- This post does not handle this conversation delicately. It is frank and to the point.
As a teacher, I’ve heard it all (okay, maybe not all, but I’ve heard a lot). Students have soooo many misconceptions about their bodies, about how others see them, and about what is going on socially in their school. As a Biology Teacher, I get to debunk the Sex Myths Believed By Inexperienced Teens. The funny thing is the same misconceptions are repeated every year, no matter where I’m teaching. Take the Prom Night Sex survey, then take the Quiz below.
Have your favorite teen take the Sex Myths Quiz
below, and see how they score (pun intended). Encourage your teen to quiz friends. Let’s see if we can avoid a few problems by passing on a bit of knowledge. An uninformed teen is more likely to take risks if they don’t know the risks are there.
Sex Myths Believed By Inexperienced Teens
#1. You can’t get pregnant if you are having sex…
a) the week after menstruation.
b) two weeks after menstruation.
c) three weeks after menstruation
d) right before menstruation
e) during menstruation
f) none of the above
#2. True/False You can’t get pregnant if you have sex just one time.
#3. True/False You can’t contract a STD (sexually transmitted disease) if you have sex just one time.
#4. True/False A girl can’t get pregnant if she keeps her panties on.
#5. True/False Everyone else at school is Doing It (having sex).
Answers to the Quiz
#1. Nope. If you have unprotected sex (and sometimes, protected sex), a girl can get pregnant any day of the week, no matter where she is in her menstrual cycle. Not only that, but the female body has this great little trick of ovulating (producing an egg) when it’s stressed out (fear, anger, etc.), no matter what time of the month it is. If you don’t think having sex for the first time is stressful, think again. That’s a possible explanation of why so many teens get pregnant the first time they have sex.
#2. Don’t make me laugh. Of course you can get pregnant the very first time. As a matter of fact, you can get pregnant if you are both using birth control.
#3. If your partner has a STD, you have a STD. The clinic will tell you what kind. Some STDs don’t provide you with convenient, easy to detect symptoms (it’s hurts when you pee; you leak yellow, white or green stuff from your private parts; you smell funny down there; you itch, etc.). If you have had sex, and you have not been to the clinic, GO NOW!
#4. Uh, not true. Although it is unusual to get pregnant fooling around with panties on, it is still possible. Sperm need moisture to travel. Females always produce vaginal fluids. A little semen on moist panties, and voila!
You have a baby! As long as sperm can reach the vagina, they have a chance to find the egg. You remember…that egg the female body thoughtfully provides you for this stressful moment. (By the way, STDs can be contracted though any mucous membrane, with or without sex).
#5. Hahahahahaha. Of course they’re not all Doing It! I have years of proof, and you can test to find out at your own school.
Every year I pass out an anonymous survey to my students. It includes questions about sex, drugs and alcohol, asking about their frequency of use in the students’ personal lives. Every year, the freshman results were the same:
Only 2% to 5% of all freshmen were trying sex.
90% or more believed everyone else was Doing It.
Every year when I presented the results, their disbelief would prompt a retake of the survey, with them solemnly promising not to lie. The new results?
However, when I gave the same survey to sophomores, the numbers were different.
Less than 10% were sexually active, however almost 100% believed everyone else was Doing It.
What do you think the results were for Juniors and Seniors?
Less than 15% were sexually active, however 100% believed everyone else was doing it.
Hey, I hope you aren’t sitting there saying to yourself, “Well, that’s not my school.” These schools were from the south, from the north, from the inner city, from rural areas, from affluent communities, and from poor communities, and all in the good ol’ USA. The students were from more races/ethnicities than you can name. Some of them were just like kids you know. I’m telling you the people in your school would produce close to the same results.
If you don’t believe me, Take the survey yourself.
Survey your school and see what happens. Send me an email requesting my Personal Practices Questionnaire if you don’t want to make up your own. Ask a teacher to print them off for you (2 copies/page protects the environment by not wasting paper), and to give you some Scantron sheets for easy scoring. The Scantron machine will process the answers for you, and even tally the totals.
Homeroom is a good time to give the survey, but avoid unsupervised places like the cafeteria. Students have to be able to fill them out privately or they will lie to protect themselves from their “friends.”
Before you conduct the survey, make a few predictions of what the numbers will be like (that’s the Science Geek in me promoting the Scientific Method)
Let me know your results.
If you want more information about contraceptives, go to http://stayteen.org/sex-ed/birth-control-explorer, but anyone who is not discussing this with a partner is not ready to have sex with that partner.