(Unpublished - Aug 6, 2009)
I read with interest the report 'More girls under age 14 having sex' (Aug 5).
Teenage sex as a phenomenon is not surprising.
We should not only attribute this to liberal media influence, which has time and again been the sole focus concerning teen sexuality.
We need to recognise sexual physiology, and the simple fact teenagers are capable of making responsible decisions.
Most laypersons will not fail to observe that the population is getting more sexually developed and mature at a younger age.
However, we turn a blind eye to this and start looking for other reasons for teen sexuality to tackle.
At the same time, we have a bias against youngsters, deeming them as less capable or simply incapable of making responsible decisions.
These mindsets make it difficult for us to properly address teen sexuality.
Aside from preaching abstinence, the young need to be informed on the social, emotional and legal implications of having sex.
It becomes problematic when we are confronting consensual teenage sex.
If we say no to them, they will still have sex. That is the reality and we need to engage it, not ignore it.
While the law prohibits underage sex, we should continue to teach the young responsible sex, since they are already doing it.
Teaching safe sex does not equate to encouraging sex.
We must also have a change in thinking and stop associating teenage sex with delinquency, broken homes and the lower socio-economic strata.
There are teens from all walks of life already having sex at public staircases, toilets and in the privacy of their rooms.
Teenage sex is no longer stigmatised and we cannot use fear or guilt to control the young.
Rather, they should be learn and understand the importance of being safe and responsible. This includes a combination of safe sex as well as abstinence.
They should also protect themselves with negotiation tactics, and defend against exploitation.
We should not be ostriches and hide our heads in the ground when we discuss teen sexuality.
We should neither fear nor cave in to singular ideologies, whether moderate or puritanical.
Instead, we should let our young know what all the different advice different parties and authorities have to give on sex.
The internet may provide a plethora of information, but we often surf it selectively.
When it comes to personal advice on sex to teenagers, we are capable of being critical as we are informative, as we know any singular advice claiming to be universal is highly debatable.
If we discard other views and give our young what we think is and should be universal advice, we risk alienating them even more.
Ho Chi Sam