Under pressure: Are you and your significant other sexually active?


Tatum Luoma

Nationwide, the number of teenagers having sex has decreased, and this trend is mirrored at Ventura High School. 

High school is a stressful time for a lot of students, and for a lot of reasons. On top of homework and tests, students face their peers and often feel pressured to be in a relationship, have sex or both. 

According to a student survey conducted by researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation, one in three boys in America ages 15-17 say that they feel pressure to have sex. Most often, this pressure is from their male peers. In contrast, 23 percent of teen girls in the U.S. feel pressure to have sex, 10 percent less than that of their male peers.

Although this statistic demonstrates that many high school students feel pressured to have sex, the numbers are different at Ventura High School. In a survey taken by The Cougar Press, 339 out of 751 students (45.1 percent) responded that they have never engaged in any sexual activity. This is not to say that the pressure to have sex or engage in other sexual activity does not exist as VHS, but almost half of students have not given in to this pressure. 

In fact, according to the same study  by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the overall rate of sexual activity for teenagers has declined 5.7 percent in the last decade. 

Furthermore, in the same 2020 Sex and Dating survey taken by TCP, 234 out of 764 students (30.6 percent) said they have never been in a relationship, romantic or sexual. When asked about the pressure that students may be experiencing, senior Camron Neville said, “There is definitely an intense peer pressure to be in a relationship [at Ventura High School]. It’s all around you and seems like everyone is in a relationship, so it kind of makes those that aren’t in a relationship really sad and lonely.” 

Peer pressure to date and have sex is no joke. If you or someone you know desires help with this, you can talk with a friend or a trusted adult. The VHS counselors are always available, as is Mrs. Richards, the Student Assistance Program counselor. 

Regardless of what the statistics may demonstrate, peer pressure situations are different for every student. When it comes to dating and having sex, do what is right for you. If you want to have sex and date, so be it. Remember to be safe and smart. And if you don’t want to date or have sex, that is completely fine. Don’t rush into anything, and know that the right time will come eventually.