TEEN BOARDING SCHOOLS
What Your Son Needs to Know About Sex
By Jane St. Clair
Many parents assume their children are learning about sex and contraception in school. However, this is not always the case -- and even when sex ed is being taught, it is unlikely that all of a child's questions will be answered. It is still up to parents to teach their children about sex in terms of their own beliefs and values.
Here are a few things that your son might need to know about sex, especially before he enters a college campus environment. These subjects may not have been covered in his school classes.
If your son has sex with female who is drunk or on drugs, he can be prosecuted for rape even if she gave her consent. Girls who are drunk or on drugs are considered legally incapacitated. The penalties for rape are severe jail sentences and years of registering as a sex offender.
If a woman can prove that your son is the father of her child, he can be legally responsible for child payments until the child is of legal age. This will hold true even if the woman involved told your son that she was using birth control or would undergo an abortion. What this means in a practical way is that a portion of your son's wages will go for monthly child support payments for 18 to 22 years. If your son becomes a father when he is a high school or college student, he will have a lifelong relationship with both the mother and the child. This will affect all future relationships he has with women. On a related note, grandparents have visitation rights in certain states, whether your son wants them you to do so or not.
'Sexting' and Child Pornography
If a girl under the age of 18 years sends your son naked or semi-nude pictures of herself, the pictures are child pornography. Just possessing them is a crime. If your son sends them to others via cellphone or computer, he can be prosecuted as a child pornographer. Jail sentences for possessing or distributing child pornography are very harsh – life in prison for multiple offenses – and he will have to register as a sex offender. Although no teen has yet been sent to jail for "sexting," several cases are now in front of courts.
Boys Can Be Sexually Harassed
If an adult female is making sexual overtures to your son, he has the right to call the police or go notify school authorities. It is illegal for any adult to solicit sex from any child under age 18. And though most pedophilia cases that achieve national attention involve men preying on young girls, experts estimate that as many as 40 percent of pedophiles are women. If girls are "sexting" your son or otherwise making unwanted sexual overtures, this is sexual harassment and it is illegal. Your son has certain rights under the law to stop it. If he is in a public school, there has to be an official sexual harassment policy in place.
STDs and Pregnancy
One in four American teenagers has a sexually transmitted disease. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that condoms provide protection against HIV/AIDS virus, but they may not prevent the transmission of herpes, syphilis, chancroid, or HPV. It is possible to get diseases from oral sex -- for example, gonorrhea of the throat. About 35 percent of women in the United States get pregnant before age 20. Teenage birth rates have increased in the past two years. Getting pregnant is easy unless a couple consistently uses birth control. Condoms fail about 10 percent of the time. This means the more sex your son has using only condoms as birth control, the more likely he and his partner are to get pregnant.
Dating violence is also increasing among teenagers, and many researchers link it to too early sexual intercourse. Teens in sexual relationships often become jealous or "clingy," leading to violence within the relationship or against anyone who threatens it.
Boys today are under pressure to lose their virginity, while girls are under pressure to keep it. A study that was reported in the June 11, 2003, edition of USA Today revealed that a majority of teenage girls tell researchers that they regret having sex, do not enjoy it, and have it just to please their boyfriends. Tell your son it is not a good idea to pressure girls and that girls are often interpret sexual encounters differently than boys do. Your son's sexual behaviors will have consequences for himself and his partners, and some of these consequences can be quite serious.