Teen Girls Are More Clueless About Sex Than We Thought


pregnancy testLet's play a game. Ready? It's called "Guess the Year."

Here we go: In what year did one-third of teen moms surveyed say they didn't use birth control because they "didn't believe they could get pregnant"? Was it ...

a. 1952

b. 1928

c. 2012

The answer is: C! 2012.

Not what you were expecting, eh? Yeah, me neither. But them's the facts, according to a recent government study.

My immediate reaction to this news, as a former teen girl who's now the adult mother of a tween daughter was, predictably, WHY? Why did these girls think they couldn't get pregnant?

Frustratingly, the CDC didn't ask that question when they conducted the survey. Which leaves the rest of us wondering ... who dropped the sex ed ball here?

I guess it's easy to assume, as a parent, that your kids are somewhat savvy about these matters. Nowadays, that is. I mean, everybody stopped believing in those ancient "you can't get pregnant if" myths (if you have sex during your period, if you have sex in a pool, if you jump up and down afterwards, etc.) well before I was in high school. We live in a time when there are commercials for birth control pills in the middle of the afternoon and ads for Plan B in magazines. 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom are on TV. This stuff isn't a mystery anymore. Is it suddenly cool to believe in The Stork or something?

It doesn't make sense, but I guess that doesn't matter. What matters is this: For some reason girls aren't getting the facts about safe sex, and it's our job as parents to make sure they do.

Does it surprise you that so many teen moms didn't know they could get pregnant?


Image via Janine/Flickr



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ms_mo... ms_morgan

I think there should be more sex ed in school.  I grew up in a small town in Texas, and we got told ALL about STD's and what-not, but they preached "abstinence-only" education.  Kids need to be told about all those "myths" and scientifically WHY they aren't true.  And they need to be educated on pregnancy, on birth control, on STDs, and yes, on abstinence.  It needs to be a well-rounded education, like all other subjects taught in school. 

nonmember avatar Mike M

Well, about 80% of adults in the U.S. (or 90% of people who identify as Christian) believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, so it doesn't seem to be too far of a stretch for that to cause confusion about biology among part of the population. Then (and perhaps more importantly) there's the whole "let's let children be children and not teach them anything about sex until they need to know" attitude (by which time it may be too late for the kids/teens that don't have much respect for those adults who treat them as a child) that a large majority of adults in the U.S. have (as they find sex to be reprehensible, or they simply don't question the basis of why so many adults have a negative attitude towards sex and the human body). If adults treated kids and teens with more respect and had the desire to teach them everything that young adults need to know to be able to make wise decisions on their own then there probably wouldn't be so many young adults who know so little about reproduction.

nonmember avatar Enthusiastic

Most teen moms are stupid, so I'm not surprised at all.

Melis... Melissa042807

I believe teens need to be educated not only on birth control, but how their bodies work. What exactly is going on during their "cycle", why things work the way they do, what PMS really means...the whole enchilada. I didn't really have a firm grasp on it until I was 25 and we started looking into Natural Family Planning, which required me to learn A LOT about my body, and even though we didn't end up going the NFP route everything I learned has proved so useful. I plan to teach my daughters more beyond "Oh, you're going to get your period every 28 days or so from now on." 

bills... billsfan1104

Melissa, my sister is a NFP teacher, and she bought my daughter a book about periods(before she got hers), that talked about PMS, craps, knowing your body, etc etc. I believe too, that girls need to know this.

mande... manderspanders

I agree with Melissa and billsfan.

NFP teaches so much about the body and menstrual cycle. Every woman should have this information. But in the age of birth control, it's just tossed aside as Catholic mumbojumbo.

It's hard to be responsible for yourself and your body when you don't understand it.

nonmember avatar Megan

Sex Education doesn't remedy stupid and irrational. Which is what a LOT of developing teen girls are.
I had every sex ed class in middle and high school telling me that unless I use birth control, condoms, or abstain I will get pregnant.
So you know what I did, screwed up with my boyfriends a few times and never got pregnant....in my great logic, wisdom and rationality I believed in my heart, I'm unable to get pregnant something is wrong with me.
Well something at 16 WAS wrong with me, and it wasn't that I couldn't get pregnant,cause I sure did! And it wasn't because my Texas Sex ed classes failed me (cause they offered me every opportunity and resource available to prevent if I so sought). It might have been my parents that never talked to me about birth control, but some girls are just dumb when they are growing, and aren't mature enough to make decisions about sex.

Eversnow Eversnow

I doubt that teen girls are that stupid that they think they cannot get pregnant. I find the results of that survey shocking. Has anyone thought they answered that so it seems they cannot get the brunt of the blame?  I don't know but if the statistics are legit... There needs to a solid sex ed class and parents need to stop and educate and not leave it up to just the schools. Our school had a thing where an hour a day a sex ed teacher would come in and teach something different we didn't know for 2-3 weeks out of the school year when I was in 7th and 8th grade. It was really helpful when I was at that age, 

jessi... jessicasmom1

wow! I don't think kids should learn from sex ed, I will have the birds and bees talk with DD when the time comes.

Texas... TexasWife

No. I am not surprised. A lot of parents rely on the school to teach them everything they need to know about sex. A lot of my friends parents never talked to them about it. We luckily had one teacher who went in depth about everything and she almost got in trouble with the school.

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