Annabel Callos Choy
Are Pinoy teenagers emotionally ready for sex?
Perhaps society owe it - or not— to the sexual revolution craze that people no longer have to blush or feign repugnance when discussion about sex is broached up. However, the advent of this sexual renaissance comes with a daunting price tag: changes in sexual behavior, sexual values, and sexual outlook. The Pinoy teenage population, driven by their ranging hormones and puerile emotions, is no exception to the growing statistics claiming for their fair share on sexual liberation. As Pinoy teens start to pick up with this sex vogue, society at large faces a contentious conundrum “Are Pinoy teens emotionally ready for sex?”
Biologically speaking, there is every reason to believe that a teenager, with age ranging from 13 to 19 years old, is ready to engage in sex. The physical changes and hormonal spurts send a very clear signal for sexual accommodation. However, human sex is not a pure biological event as adolescence is not all about finding sexual gratification.
Adolescence is a stage of sexual maturation, emotional growth, and psychological ripening. This implies that all three are mutually operational and relies on each aspect's influence. However, a teenager's personality sphere -biological, intellectual, emotional, and social— do not reach maturation at the same time nor do their rates of growth parallel each other. Usually biological growth develops earlier than the rest, thus the expression “the mind or emotion of a child in a body of an adult”. Human sex necessitates an emotional component but these feelings and emotions are just what teenagers begin to develop. These feelings are rather new and strange to a typical Pinoy teen. Hence, he or she must learn to gain mastery or control over these feelings. At this point, he or she is biologically able to reproduce but emotionally still unable to assume the responsibility that comes hand in hand with adult heterosexuality.
It can be said that Pinoy teens today are victims of new circumstance in their environment which the adults have created. They faces the challenge of growing into a mature, responsible, and healthy adults amidst a maelstrom of economic, political, social, cultural, and moral changes. The rapid encroachment of media, sensationalizing sex, as the sex education “guru” has, if anything, misguided Pinoy adolescents. They have convinced teenagers that sex or sexual intercourse as a means of enjoying physical and emotional intimacy -as distinct from being confined solely to procreation— is universally approved, as long as it occurs within a consensual relationship. This naïve sex “myth” is in fact a hedonist viewpoint since it glorifies the sexual impulse itself rather than the union or the shared sexual relationship.
Sex has also been artificially embellished by “pundits”, downplaying on the “less favorable” side of sex. While Pinoy teenagers are informed about HIVS/AIDS, possible pregnancy, and STDs, they tend to low ball the chances of these harmful consequences on them. Teenage sex usually happens haphazardly, away from the watchful eyes of adults, and without conscious deliberation on the possible dangers. Generally, teenagers tend to feel invulnerable and drastically underestimate the bad consequences of risky behaviors like sex. Pinoy adolescents today are expressing an earlier development of sexual interest, however, they do not show a consistent picture of increase maturity in self-evaluation, judgment, or outlook on life.
The marriage -as choice—, sex -as privilege—, and parenthood -as responsibility— pattern used to be well defined. However, this pattern has eroded as Pinoy teens today are emotionally and economically more immature and dependent than the previous youth cohort. The socialization process practiced today is geared toward a pseudomaturation stage emulating adulthood. Parents expect their teens to act and experience life like an adult but deprive them of the opportunity, guidance and preparation for the responsibilities and realities of an adult life. The Pinoy adolescent wants to have the privilege of sex but in the same time is emotionally and intellectually unprepared to make a choice on marriage or commitment. Hence, they resort to sex-no marriage- no parenthood pattern. This pattern is, if anything, detrimental to teens as it insinuates “easy way out” for them. It gives them a false sense of sexual freedom, one that is without any strings attached. It reinforces them to carry out the sex act but shun away from the consequences or responsibilities that comes along with it. Others may find themselves in sex -unexpected parenthood-forced marriage mesh. This is even worst as teenagers are psychologically not ready to assume a role that requires precipitous abandonment of their individuality. Adolescence cannot afford to bypass the process of self discovery.
Adolescence is a stage of emotional growth. Pinoy teens need all the support, encouragement, guidance, and, above all, adequate time to crystallize his or her final self-identity. The goals of adolescence should never be abrupt pseudo maturation evolving to adulthood.