Generation S(ex) – and loving it

2010-11-28 13:05

They can be called Generation S(ex). They say openly they are crazy about sex. They talk about it, learn from pornography, are pressurised into doing it and enjoy it.

Like music, fashion and technology, when it comes to sex teens do not want to feel left behind.

Being called a virgin is not cool, most say. Watching pornography to gain insight and learn “new styles” has become part of their sex education.

The Jules High School sex case has again raised the delicate issue of teens, sex and the societal role pornography plays.

In interviews with teens across the country this week, most said that sex was a major topic of ­discussion among their friends.

They said “sex is a big deal” – whether you have it or not.

Those who were not sexually ­active were quick to point out that as other teenagers were ­having sex, they felt left out because they were not.

Some virgins attributed their ­abstinence to being religious, wanting to wait for marriage, being scared of sexually transmitted ­diseases and pregnancy and belonging to a group where it was not expected to have sex just to fit in.

The majority, though, said that peer pressure had influenced them to lose their virginity.

Although most agreed that the age of consent should be 18 years because then you were “mature enough to make such emotional decisions”, all of those who were sexually active had their first ­sexual experience when they were much younger.

Michelle February* from ­Milnerton in Cape Town is 18 years old but started having sex when she was 13.

“As a young person you want to experience what your friends are doing – that is why I engaged in sex at an early age. Sex is healthy, special and I like the experience,” she said, smiling.

At 15, though, she got drunk at a party and had group sex but can’t remember much about the evening.

“I was not hurt so I was not furious or angry but the fact that I did not know how many guys I had sex with kind of made me upset.”

In hindsight, though, she said: “If I could go back in time I would not have started at that age. I thought I was ready because my friends were having sex.

“After my first time I wished I had waited a little longer as I felt dirty afterwards.”

The national head for corporate communications at loveLife, Botha Swarts, said 70% of calls their call centre received were from young people who were peer ­pressured into doing things they were not ready for.

“Adolescence is also a time of changing hormones and puberty, when young people are discovering new things about their bodies. This is a natural part of growing up.

“We encourage the youth to think about their feelings and not let the ‘power’ of these sexy feelings get them to do things they are not 100% ready to do.

“It is therefore important to make a distinction between teens being ‘sex-crazed’ and coming to terms with new and strange feelings. They need support, guidance and encouragement to care for themselves and others in responsible ways.”

* Names have been changed.

Reporting by Grace Moaisi, Khosi Biyela, Sizwe sama Yende, Piet Rampedi, Western Cape News and Erna van Wyk

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