Why Responsible Sexual Behaviour is Important
You don’t need to be having sex to learn about it. On the other hand, just because you’re having sex, doesn’t mean that you know all there is to know about sex. The fact that so many young people have unwanted pregnancies and that the rate of HIV infection amongst young South Africans is so high, shows that a lot of young people are not having responsible sex.
A few examples of irresponsible sexual behaviour
- Sex without protection
- Multiple sexual partners (and not using protection with each of them)
- Not using contraception to avoid unwanted pregnancy
- Having sex for the wrong reasons (like peer pressure, pressure from a partner, sex as a way to keep someone)
- Having sex without understanding the risks
- Not wanting to learn about safe sex
Here’s why responsible sexual behaviour is important:
It impacts your future
Sexual behaviour is important because it plays a role in your future. For example, an unplanned pregnancy can change your plans or your current path. Having a baby is a big responsibility - physically, emotionally and financially.
Unfortunately girls are impacted even more than boys because many girls don’t get the opportunity to attend and complete school as a result of teenage pregnancy.
Did you know that in 2013, 99 000 students fell pregnant? This is a huge number, Choma.
Having a baby is not wrong, but having a baby when you and the person you’re having a baby with are not ready is not ideal. When you engage in more responsible sexual behaviour, such as using dual contraception (e.g. a condom and the pill), you can plan your future better. Even if you do want a baby, responsible sexual behaviour gives you the option to decide when the right time is instead of feeling forced into parenthood.
It improves your sexual relationships
Being sexually responsible, shows the how trustworthy you are as a partner. If you insist on not using protection (maybe because you’re embarrassed about not knowing how to use protection properly or because you’ve heard so many myths about protection), your partner might perceive you as an irresponsible person who doesn’t care about your safety or theirs.
Responsible sexual behaviour also means that you know more about sex such as: treating your sexual partners equally, making sure your sexual encounters are consensual and knowing how to use protection properly. This ensures that you’re having better sex and that you’re a more responsible partner to be with overall.
If you’re consistently having safe sex then you have even less to worry about, like Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), including HIV. Since having protected sex will make you less anxious, you’ll be more comfortable during sex and therefore have better sex (and a better sex life in general).
It gives you more control over your own body
It’s so empowering when all the important decisions about your body are made by YOU. Wouldn’t you agree, Choma? Whenever you make a decision about your body that you know will affect your future, you make an empowering decision. Deciding to have responsible sex is a decision that you make to protect yourself. It means that you’re not allowing someone else to pressure you into making decisions that could have an impact on YOUR future.
Don’t feel bad about wanting to learn more about safe sex or wanting to know how you can behave more responsibly, Choma. Sex is a part of everyone’s lives at some point, and knowing how to do it responsibly every time is never a bad thing.
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