Sex in the Summertime

Sandra Fu

School's out, finals are finished -- if not passed -- and now it's three months of sun, fun and freedom.

No more dragging yourself out of bed 15 minutes before class starts. No more frantic scribbling to finish homework during lunch. And no more attendance police monitoring your every move, hoping to land you in an after-school prison. Schedules are more relaxed, families are planning vacations, and you are looking for ways to have a good time. We all know what that means.

Sex.

But you have to remember that with the pleasure of sex comes the responsibility of contraception. Popular clinics, such as Planned Parenthood, work to provide safe counsel and reliable contraception for teens looking to protect themselves during this laid-back time of year.

But are the kids paying attention?

Not really, according to Nancy Sasaki, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood. "Typically, the numbers of teenagers we see declines in the summer months."

It could have something to do with family trips and the lack of a regular schedule to keep teens focused, but more than likely it is because they are concentrating on having a good time and forgetting about sexual responsibility, the kind that may save their lives.

"Summertime is probably the time when teenagers most need to think about it, because they have much more freedom," states Sasaki. "In fact, a lot of times Planned Parenthood will try and target more advertising towards teenagers in April and May, when they're about to get out of school. Just trying to get them to think about being responsible, to get in before school lets out, to be more prepared for the summer."

Sound advice considering the dangers of unprotected sex, but should it be just the teens' responsibility to seek out that information? Where do the parents come in? Sure, parents' schedules remain the same, but are they aware of how much time their teens have now and do they wonder what they are doing with it?

Instead of wondering, parents should become more proactive in their children's lives, says Sasaki -- even in the areas they do not want to know about. "From our perspective, we believe that parents ought to be involved with their kids at very early ages, to keep the doors of communication open so that they can feel that they can come to them and talk to them," she says.

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