Although sexuality education has been in schools for more than four decades, young people still face a number of problems in the area of sexuality and relationships. Rates of teenage pregnancy, abortion and sexually transmitted infections are cause for concern, as are the effects of media sexualisation of children and teens on body image and early sexual behaviour.
Clinical experience demonstrates that an increase in knowledge about pregnancy, contraception, STIs, etc, is not necessarily sufficient to equip and prepare young teenagers for future decision-making and relationship choices. Adolescent brain development and psychological maturity can lag well behind physical maturity, making safe decision making problematical.
Teenage pregnancy - indeed unplanned pregnancy for adult women as well - is not necessarily a simple case of failed, or imperfect use of, contraception.
It is clear that for many women with unplanned pregnancies, other factors are at play. Sexual behaviour may be unconsciously influenced by un-met psychological needs such as depression, grief and loss, and childhood abandonment or trauma.
Sexual acting out can be used as a means of gaining attention or approval, replacing a lost relationship or seeking affirmation that one is loved and wanted. Pregnancy can be consciously or unconsciously sought in order to provide 'someone to love and someone who loves me.'
Where a teenager or young woman is prone to unhealthy sexual decision making, mere knowledge and access to contraception is unlikely to be sufficient to change the picture. She risks serial pregnancies and/or abortions which will only add to the emotional load she already carries. A therapeutic intervention is required.
Read more about these issues:
Teen pregnancy – Real Causes, Real Solutions
"Unwanted pregnancies, the beginnings of sexual relationships in unsafe settings and other difficulties experienced by vulnerable teenagers often do not occur randomly but in the context of a background that leaves them prone to some misfortune."
Emergency Contraception (Morning after pill)
"The impulsive and avoidant nature of the adolescent can result in serial use of emergency contraception which, if unchecked, could have serious implications for her long-term health."