These days, there are so many news articles about teenage sex. To be honest with you, I am not surprised anymore by the fact that teenagers have sex – now, in 2013, it is not an uncommon phenomenon. But what I feel more uncomfortable about is how much they are not aware of and indeed not ready to face the consequences that come after having sex.
A few months ago, there was a terrible infanticide committed by a young 13-year-old girl, A. A, after having sex numerous times with an 18-year-old boy, B, whom she had met through smartphone chatting, eventually found out that she had become pregnant. A tried to let B know, but could not get in touch with B again, and had to deal with her pregnancy by herself. Scared to let her parents know, she gave birth to her baby by herself secretly in the bathroom, and when the baby started to cry, she killed her baby immediately and threw her baby out the window.
This incident shows just how teenagers are immaturely having sex, when knowing that they cannot take responsibilities for the consequences; they are doing something that they cannot deal with. According to the Ministry of Gender Equity and Family’s research on teenage sex, it was revealed that the average age of having first sex was 15.1 and that 57.2% of all the respondent teenagers with sexual experience replied that they did not use any contraceptive devices, and 1 out of 4 experienced pregnancy. In short, teenagers are irresponsibly having sex without taking measures to prevent the unwanted consequences.
In such a situation where teenagers are already engaging in having sex, I want to cast doubt upon whether Korean society has an appropriate system of sexual education. Korea’s sexual education is not properly carried out because sex is still considered as an uneasy topic to open up directly about, with youngsters. Also, sexual education is designated as an elective education subject, which the school can choose or not choose to teach. Because of these limits, only the matters that are far away from sexual intercourse are taught, such as the development of sexual characteristics of male and female bodies and the process of how a fetus is made in the mother’s womb. The meaning of having a sexual relationship is not thoroughly explained at school, which drives the teenagers to learn about sex through pornography and try it by themselves completely out of curiosity. Contraceptive measures are explained, but the importance of contraception, the danger of having sexual intercourse when physical characteristics are not fully developed, and the consequences and responsibilities of having sex are not elaborated on in sex education classes.
Teenagers are not innocent children anymore. As they become more mentally and physically mature and thus begin to develop feelings of sexual desire, the topic of sex, especially concerning its meaning and responsibilities, should not be covered up or suppressed. In Korean society, it has been thought traditionally that hiding and not talking about sex would prevent teenagers from encountering it. However, this is now proven to be wrong – teenagers encounter sex in any way they want. Therefore, rather than completely blocking the discussion of sex, it should be more important to teach students about what having a sexual relationship means, and what responsibilities they will have to face before and after they have sex. It is time that we need a more direct and open sexual education, rather than the one that hides essential information and beats around the bush.