It is common and natural for adolescents and pre-adolescents to have many queries about sex and sexuality. It is also normal to feel nervous or uncomfortable about discussing these topics with adults or doctors. Sexual development is a vital component of health, comparable to other indicators of physical growth, such as height and weight. Adolescents need to be well-educated about all facets of sex and sexual health. Sexual development starts in the pre-adolescent years and lasts until adulthood. During puberty, the human body undergoes significant physiological changes due to the production of hormones. In females, this process typically involves breast development, while in males, it includes the growth of the penis and testicles, as well as the appearance of facial hair. Additionally, both genders experience the growth of hair in the underarms and genital area. However, it is crucial to recognize that puberty encompasses more than just physical transformations. As individuals progress into adulthood, their cognitive processes, emotional states, desires, and requirements undergo substantial shifts as well.
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Teens may face sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that can be transmitted through sexual activities, including sexual intercourse, anal sex, oral sex, and even using fingers. The concerning aspect of STIs is that they often remain asymptomatic, showing no noticeable signs or symptoms, making them difficult to detect.
-Human papillomavirus: May cause cervical cancer in women, penile cancer in men, and anal or oropharyngeal cancer in either sex.
-HIV: (human immunodeficiency virus): It is a virus that causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).
-Gonorrhea and Chlamydia: Serious bacterial infections of the genital tract.
-Herpes simplex virus: Viral infection that causes painful or itchy sores in the genital area.
-Hepatitis B virus: The infection can cause liver disease.
-Hepatitis C virus: A viral infection that can cause serious liver damage.
-Syphilis: Can cause genital or anus ulcer.
-Trichomonas: Can cause itching and/or a discharge from a female's vagina or a male's penis.
-Immunizations: For two specific STIs (HPV and hepatitis B)
Abstaining from sexual intercourse is the only foolproof method for a young woman to ensure she does not become pregnant. Predicting a "safe" time when pregnancy is unlikely can be unreliable during this age, as menstrual cycles may be irregular. Teens need to understand that pregnancy is a possibility every time they engage in sexual intercourse, regardless of whether it's their first time, during menstruation, or at any point between menstrual periods.