Sexual promiscuity in teens is an issue that many parents feel uncomfortable addressing, but it is important that parents not ignore this problem. Failure to address this issue could result in any number of terrible consequences, both emotional and physical, so sexual promiscuity should not be taken lightly. (For more information on the risks of sexual promiscuity, see this article.) It is also important for parents to overcome the double standard of judging male teens’ sexual promiscuity differently from female teens’, because teens of both genders face almost exactly the same risks.
Before deciding on the best course of action for addressing your teen’s sexual promiscuity, it is usually a good idea to investigate the causes of their behavior. Most importantly, understand the following fact:
Sexual promiscuity in teens could be indicative of a deeper and more serious problem.
Often times, a teen’s choice to engage in sexual activity with many partners could be the result of a deeper underlying issue. Like many forms of addiction, sexual promiscuity usually does not stem from a simple love of sexual activity. Rather, in many cases, the decision to take several partners and engage in risky sexual behavior stems from a deeply rooted emotional or mental disorder. Depressed teens, for example, often engage in risky behavior beyond what is considered normal for an average teenager, and sexual promiscuity is an easy outlet for their negative feelings.
Teens who suffer from anxiety issues or major self esteem problems are also at risk of becoming sexually promiscuous, as sexual activity with multiple partners is often viewed as a form of self-validation. It is also often cited as an effective self esteem booster. These “positive” effects are only temporary, however, and it is usually only a matter of time before that teen moves on to another partner.
Teens who are sexually promiscuous are also sometimes experiencing family issues. These teens sometimes choose to use sexual activity as a means of “acting out,” so this is another possibility that parents should not ignore. By the same token, teens who were once the victim of sexual assault, such as rape or molestation, have also been known to use sexual promiscuity as a means of numbing themselves from the pain of their traumatic memories. Therefore, if your sexually promiscuous teen raises the possibility that this could have been a motivating factor behind their behavior, do not write this off as a desperate excuse. Although it is uncommon, it could be a possibility.
Sexual promiscuity in teens is a dangerous and even potentially deadly habit that should be addressed by parents as soon as possible. The subject might be uncomfortable, but the dangers of allowing the habit to continue in your child are much worse than the feelings of discomfort you may experience while discussing the topic. In many cases, seeking professional help is a wise decision, as it gives both teens and parents a safe environment in which to discuss their feelings and seek mutually satisfactory solutions.