The average age of sexual intercourse is 15.8 years old, which can have significant consequences for teenagers who are uninformed. Contracting a sexually transmitted disease or an unwanted pregnancy are some of the risks.
Adolescents are increasingly exploring their sexuality at an earlier age, so they need to be aware of the appropriate prevention measures and possible risks in order to achieve favorable sexual health.
In Spain, the average age of starting sexual relations in the 15 to 19 age group is 15.8 yearssomething that many times can even raise a legal conflict, since the age to have consensual sex is from 16.
This is clear from the study Child, adolescent and young adult health made by the Merck Health Foundationwhich dedicates one of its chapters to the sexual health of adolescents.
In addition, the 50.2% of young people aged between 16 and 18 have sexual relations with penetration, increasing this percentage to 70.9% in the group of 19 to 21 years.
The majority of teenage girls belonging to this group state that they always have sex using one contraceptive methodpercentage that decreases as age advances.
Use of contraceptive methods
The use of contraceptive methods it is essential to protect the sexual health of adolescents and all age groups, whether by preventing infectious diseases or reducing the risk of unwanted pregnancies.
There is a wide variety of contraceptive methods, from the traditional condom to hormonal implants or patches.
The least used contraceptives among teenagers are the long-lasting ones, specifically, the SAYS e implantwhich, however, are considered the most effective and the most recommended during adolescence.
The most used in Spain are the condom, in one 28%followed by the pill.
It should be borne in mind that oral sex also constitutes a risk, even if it is minor, so prevention measures must be present during these practices.
Contraceptive pill and compliance
Despite being one of the most used contraceptive methods, the main problem it presents is that of compliance.
Since it is a oral contraceptivemany times you can forget to take it at the set time or even for more than a day, which means being unprotected against the risk of pregnancy.
However, it is important to note that the pill does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, so it will have to be combined with a condom.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
The report indicates that since 2010 there has been an increase in STDs, where young people and teenagers constitute a particularly vulnerable population.
The age at which sexual intercourse begins has decreased in recent years. In addition, the number of sexual partners has increased, along with the emergence of new customs.
And all of this combined poses a significant danger if appropriate measures are not taken.
During these ages the percentage of infections by gonococcus, syphilis i chlamydia it is greater in women than in men.
Teenagers can also be infected by the HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)being more frequent in men who maintain sexual relations with other men.
According to the study, it is estimated that approximately the 2% of the new infections that occur each year would be at this stage of life
On the other hand, the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) it is the most common sexually transmitted infection in young people and teenagers, so getting vaccinated is essential.
Risk of unwanted pregnancy
Having coital sexual relations in which the appropriate prevention measures are not always used or are used incorrectly can lead to a risk of unwanted pregnancy.
As the report points out, this situation can have several outcomes:
- Use of emergency contraception (morning after pill). The 29.7% of the women have resorted to it on occasion. And in the last year, the average usage has been 1.49 times
- Continuation of pregnancy. The number of unwanted pregnancies increases with age, being of 3% under 15 years of age and 24% between 15 and 17.
- Voluntary termination of pregnancy (IVE). According to the latest data released by Ministry of Health of the year 2020, the abortion rate for young women under 19 has been 7.41 for a thousand women
How to avoid risky situations?
The main reason why these risky situations occur is the lack of quality information.
Young people acquire almost all their knowledge through friends, the Internet, contact pages and forums… without distinguishing which information is truthful and of quality.
It is also necessary to take into account the attraction that teenagers feel for this “new world” and to explore their sexuality, without being aware most of the time of the risks involved.
Thus, facilitating sexual affective education in schools and encouraging truthful information on the Internet, which is the channel they turn to the most, is vital for adolescents to have safe sexual health and well-being.