We’ve all heard the many concerns and underlying assumptions about teenage girls engaging in risky sexual behavior as a result of the media, celebrities and music. Yet, it’s too easy to blame shows like “Glee” for unprotected sex and teen pregnancy. And while people will continue to point fingers at a liberal society for encouraging sex, a recent study from the Nov. 2009 issue of “Pediatrics,” the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, suggests otherwise.
According to the study, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh claim that the chance of an average teenage girl engaging in risky sexual behavior is dependent on her self-perceived body image. It doesn’t take a scientist to understand that girls can be insecure about their bodies, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are less or more likely to have sex or “engage in risky sexual behavior.” Though sex definitely warrants physical attraction, people don’t entirely base their decision to have sex on their own body image.
The study went on to say that Caucasian girls who thought they were underweight, regardless if they were actually underweight or not, were more likely to have sex and with multiple partners than girls who thought they had a normal weight. Underweight African American girls were less likely to use condoms than those who have a normal weight, and Latina girls were more likely to be risky with their sexual health by not using condoms and having sex before the age of 13.
But when it came to Asian American girls, there was nothing to be said. Why? After doing some of my own research, I found that studies suggest that Asian American girls and women are less likely to engage in sex because their Asian culture views sex as unacceptable before marriage. But which culture embraces sex before marriage anyway? You don’t need a study to tell you that Asian American girls are just as likely to be as sexually active as their non-Asian friends. And while statistics show that Asian American girls and women have the lowest rates of STDs and HIV compared to other races, the model minority standard isn’t a sufficient answer for this. What it comes down to is that sex in Asian American culture hasn’t been exposed or studied enough. After all, we are human, too.
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