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 Voices |

Choices: The Teen Sex Cycle

Why the cycle of teen sex continues.

Karen Farris
Karen Farris |

This is how I'd begin: I'm Karen. I'm old enough to be your grandma, but I have some stories to tell—and a lot of them have to do with choices about sex. That would usually rivet the attention of most middle and high school students.

I spent ten years traveling the rural roads of the Northwest point of Washington State. When you think rural, also think poverty and fewer opportunities for escaping it. Also think harsh statistics that match the inner city in terms of STDs, out-of-wedlock pregnancy, school drop-out rates, and drugs. Not a lot to cheer about.

Yet, I felt it was my mission field. I represented a crisis pregnancy center, and the hope was to discuss healthy choices. For many of the teens, sex was just an activity—not unlike shooting hoops or playing video games. It had as little significance as the future that was looming.

I was a voice that offered a better choice, but for so many, they rolled the STD dice and hoped for the best. On the upside, more girls chose to have their baby rather than abort. But in our county, that just meant another family on welfare, not a sweet adoption story. The challenges of raising a child without the benefit of a spouse in marriage, brought its own kind of misery and hopelessness, which the offspring felt the most.

No, there is not a happy ending, at least not here in this remote region of our nation. With easy access to illicit drugs, legal marijuana, and Planned Parenthood handing out condoms like candy, there are too many escapes from reality.

My talks didn't last long, but I'd often get emails or texts later to "talk". For so many, it was their brokenness they wanted to escape. As often is the case, girls gave sex to get love. Boys gave "love" to get sex. It was a lose-lose deal.

Marriage no longer has much allure. Living together is so acceptable, that a wedding is something you do after you have a couple years together. Oh, there are grim statistics I'd share about living together, but for so many in my audience, their moms had lived with a variety of men, and they had no idea what marriage involved.

If one ever wants to see where America is heading, all you need to do is visit some rural poverty. It's easier to see the issues that bigger cities can hide. There are fewer programs and staff to help. The schools are scraping by, the students are not motivated, and sex is the extra-curricular antidote that will perpetuate the cycle.

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