Love, Sex, and The Teenage Brain

Teen romance and the possibility of sex…It is one of the trickiest and difficult topics that we, as parents, talk to our kids about. Making sure your teenager has good information and a healthy attitude about opposite sex relationships is a challenging parental responsibility. We know that our teenagers are going to parties, hanging out together, sometimes drinking and some are having sex.

According to a 2005 Statistics Canada report:

o About 12% of teens have had sexual intercourse by age 15 and by the time they reach the age of 17, 28% teens have. By age 24, 80% of young adults have had sexual intercourse.
o Of the sexually active youth between age 15 and 24, over one third of them had more than one partner in a year and 30% did not use a condom the last time they had intercourse.
o Teen pregnancy has been steadily decreasing over the past 25 years. However the number of teens who have contracted sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as Chlamydia remains on the rise. This points to reduced use of condoms or the prevalence of oral sex which many teens mistakenly believe eliminates the transmission of STDs.

So, as parents, what sort of influence do we have? According to a 2005 University of Regina in Saskatchewan study, teachers emerged as the most important source for information about pregnancy and STD prevention. The study also found that peer influence was more important than parental disapproval in predicting whether a student would have intercourse. The findings suggest that, teachers and peers are more important in providing good information and instilling attitudes to our teenagers than parents. Parental disapproval has little impact. In fact parental disapproval often has the opposite effect one is trying to accomplish.

Romance and the Teenage Brain

The conflict between young love and parental disapproval is not a new one. In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliette, his “star crossed lovers” showed what havoc teen romance can have on families. Today, perhaps it is understandable and acceptable for school to be a more important source of information than parents on certain information about sex. However, most of us hope our values are important to our children and help guide their sexual behaviour choices.

When your son or daughter has fallen in love the personality change may seem extreme. It like they have been invaded by an alien body snatcher. The power of teen love and sex is very strong. Many parents feel responsible for their teenager’s risky behavior and become overwhelmed with feelings of guilt. Parents and especially mothers often feel the judgment of other parents whose teen’s behaviour is less extreme This can lead to additional feelings of isolation and ineffectiveness. Some parents and especially fathers may get authoritative out of frustration and eventually give up or “wash their hands” of the problem out of feelings of ineptitude.

To be more influential it helps to equipped with the knowledge of what forces are at work when a teenager falls in love. It is important to understand how the teen brain works. Recent brain scientific research sheds much more light on how much hormonal activity is influencing our teenager’s thoughts and actions.

Brain structures and brain chemicals both affect the way an adolescent first dives into romance. In his book Why Do They Act That Way?: A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen, David Walsh describes it this way. At around age ten, the body produces androgen hormones. This is when the first crush can occur. It is at puberty when the real awakening of sexual interest and sex drive occurs. This is when “falling in love” can happen. The hypothalamus drives surges of testosterone in both boys and girls and raises the levels of dopamine – the hormone that is responsible for feelings of pleasure. Because of developmental differences, boys and girls have different attitudes toward sex and romance. The testosterone surges in boys lead them to see girls as sexual objects. Adolescent girls tend to be more drawn to boys for the relational aspects of spending time together and talking.

Although sexual interest is always part of falling in love, falling in love is not always part of sex drive. The prefrontal cortex (the place of reason and judgment in the brain) is inactive and in teenagers not yet fully developed. When falling in love, we aren’t using our rational brain and impulse control. A “pleasure” high comes from the hormonal interplay of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. It is a powerful mix of natural neurological “chemistry”. All this high level of hormonal fireworks cannot be sustained for a long time by the brain. The intense feelings of “falling in love” are even shorter for teenagers than adults. Infatuation lasts only about three months on average. Following this they will move on to another relationship for the intoxication and excitement or will stay as the relationship transitions into a calmer more comfortable stable state, which has been called “standing in love”.

During the “standing in love” phase cooling down occurs and the prefrontal cortex engages. The teen is in a better position to assess the suitability of the relationship. The adolescent may wonder, “Why am I in this relationship?” A different set of hormones are released now. For girls it is oxytocin sometimes referred to as the “cuddling” hormone, also involved at childbirth, which promotes attachment. In boys, the hormone vasopressin makes them more protective, faithful and attentive to their partner’s needs.

Romantic Pitfalls

Often parents worry about their child falling in love with a “bad apple”. Concern about a teenager’s judgment is warranted. The prefrontal cortex is not completing formed in the brain until age 21. In this stupor of love, the bad influence of the boyfriend or girlfriend leads the “good” child to do things quite out of character. For example they may engage in some risky behavior out of loyalty and love such as destroy property for the “rush” of it.

Sometimes the darker side of love of jealousy and possessiveness takes hold. It is confusing for many teenagers. After the glorious “falling in love” feelings and then attachment hormones can cloud the judgement. He can become controlling, or physically or sexually abusive. When the “why am I in this relationship? question comes to mind, her memories of the “falling in love” times and the current cuddling hormone and lack of experience make it more difficult to see the wisdom of getting out.

Tips for Talking to Teens about Sex

Countries with low rates of teen pregnancy and STDs deal with sex more openly. If trusted adults, teachers and parents don’t talk openly, the adolescents will get their information from peers or the media. It is important to distinguish sex from sexuality. Sex is about biology whereas sexuality is about biology, psychology, values and spirituality. It is important for you to see your role as supplementing the logic, wisdom and judgement that the teen’s under developed prefrontal cortex requires. Actively listening, validating feelings and show respect will help open up discussions and reduce power struggles.

David Walsh in his book Why Do They Act That Way?, suggests the following tips and do’s and don’ts.
1. Get motivated. If you do not talk to them someone else will.
2. Get educated. Being informed overcomes nervousness and builds confidence
3. Get comfortable. It is OK to admit some discomfort. It will help everyone relax.
4. Make it an ongoing conversation.
5. Don’t try to cover too much in one discussion.
6. Choose appropriate times when there is an opportunity for calm, private uninterrupted conversation
7. Discuss sexuality, not just sex. They need to know about the place of sex in a healthy relationship.
8. Discuss dating as a time to have fun and get to know each other.
9. Don’t preach or lecture.
10. Make it a dialogue
11. Share your values

Do

o Emphasize the importance of respect and honesty in all relationships
o Have regular conversations with your sons and daughters about sex and sexuality
o Communicate the values you consider important in romantic relationships
o Provide accurate information about birth control and STDs
o Get to know your adolescent’s friends so you know who they are influenced by
o Really listen to your teen: their fears, and worries and validate their feelings showing acceptance and love
o Talk to other parents, join a parents group, see a counselor for ideas and support

Don’t

o Don’t get angry or use put-downs about a boyfriend or girlfriend you have concerns about
o Don’t ridicule or make fun of crushes or romantic attachments
o Don’t assume that your son or daughter won’t engage in sexual behavior
o Don’t keep quiet and let the “instant sex” that happens on TV and in movies become the only examples your kids

have about sex and sexuality

How to Make Her Want More Sex – 1 Natural Tips For Better Sex (This is SO Easy!)

In this article we are going to tackle yet another sexy subject….how to make her want sex more, WITHOUT any lotions, potions or magic solutions. The simple truth is that there are FAR more factors out there that govern a good and healthy sex life than you might have considered…and once you DO, you (and your girl) are going to absolutely REDISCOVER the joys and pleasures of sex that will blow you away..:-) Continue reading on as we cover two simple (and healthy) tips you can try tonight to amp UP the erotic energy in your bedroom (and beyond!)

Categorized: Go Natural

And no…we are NOT talking about safe sex here, guys..:-) Did you know that a HUGE part of your sexual strength is actually regulated by your diet? It’s true..and some PHENOMENALLY exciting (and fun..:-) experiments have been done in recent years with natural or raw diets and deeper, more exquisite and erotic sex. Both men and women alike have reported AMAZINGLY powerful orgasms after only 3 or 4 days of (temporarily) kicking lots of processed foods, meats, caffeine and more. Now, we are NOT telling you to change your entire lifestyle (unless you really want to!) but the AMAZING and often INSTANT increase in female libido on the back of these changes (no pun intended..;-) is WELL worth noting!

More Facts Worth Considering?

Some of the participants ALSO reported an amazing increase in erotic sensation both BEFORE and during sex…..and many raw food fans have been claiming that one of the very FIRST benefits you’ll get out of “going natural” is the tremendous tickling that your body starts to feel as you start getting raw..;-) Besides, there is NOTHING more primal than seeing your girl hungry for YOU…(rather than another big bag of chips) and the INTENSITY of both of your orgasms will do NOTHING if not keep you eating healthy for a few more days for sure!

5 Beauty Tips For Teenage Girls: Fact Verses Fiction

Some of the popular beauty tips for teenage girls are not based on any factual evidence but rather hearsay passed down from one generation to another. Often it is the mothers of teenage girls who feel that they are compelled to share beauty secrets with their young female offspring. Unfortunately some of these so-called beauty tips for teenage girls being shared by well-meaning moms are not based on any facts and in some cases may actually cause more harm than good. In this article we will take a look at some of these more popular time-tested beauty tips and tell you whether or not each is based more on fact than fiction.

Beauty Tip #1: Fact or Fiction? Daily Hair Brushing For Healthy Hair

Have you been told that to have healthy hair you need to brush your hair vigorously, at least 100 strokes of the brush, at least once every day? This beauty tip was generally accepted as being true until very recently. Probably because any excessive brushing of the hair will stimulate the production of natural oils in the scalp leaving the hair looking shiny and healthy. Recent studies have shown that this type of excess hair brushing not only causes you to have a very oily scalp leading to plugged hair pores to hinder hair growth plus the action of the brushing alone can weaken hair follicles and enhance the chances of hair breakage. So the smart conclusion seems to be that this is one of those beauty tips for teenage girls which can actually cause more harm than good. Final verdict: Fiction

Beauty Tip #2: Fact or Fiction? Too Much Sitting Causes Varicose Veins

Have you ever seen someone with dark blue veins running like a spider web up and down their legs and feet? If so, then you have seen what are called varicose veins. One of the often shared beauty tips for teenage girls states that these nasty looking veins are caused by sitting too much. In this case, we are dealing with a fact. Varicose veins are brought about by poor blood circulation which often happens when you are sitting for extended periods of time, and also if you happen to be standing in a certain spot for a long time. To help avoid varicose veins it is very important to be moving your body and stretching so that there is good blood circulation throughout your body, especially in the legs and feet. So avoid any situation where you are required to sit or stand for long periods of time and instead try to get up and walk around or if standing, then move from one spot to another to keep that blood flowing.

Beauty Tip #3: Fact or Fiction? Trim Your Hair Makes It Grow Faster

Of all the beauty tips for girls that we are going to look at, this may be one of the most common. Many girls will argue that this really works. Sadly you have cut your hair for nothing, as this does not work and is therefore fiction. Normal hair only grows at an average of one half an inch each month with any excess growth happening only during the summer months. Trimming your hair will not change this growth cycle of the hair and cause it to grow any faster. In fact the hair trimming is doing just the opposite, as once trimmed, instead of having the longer hair you are seeking in reality you now have shorter hair!

Beauty Tip #4: Fact or Fiction? Toothpaste Is An Acne Cure

If you are like many teenage girls and struggle to deal with facial acne, your parent or someone else may have suggested the use of toothpaste as an acne cure for your face. Not only is this a fictional beauty tip for teenage girls, but is one beauty tip that may make your acne problem even worse. The fact is that toothpaste does nothing to help cure your facial acne problem and if this is not bad enough, the chemicals contained in the toothpaste may actually promote even more acne and in some cases even lead to scarring. So again, avoid the use of toothpaste and seek professional advice from a dermatologist about what products are safe and effective to use for your acne problem. After all, it is called toothpaste for a reason!

Beauty Tip #5: Fact or Fiction? A Great Tan Equals Great Health

For many years both adults and teens believed that having a great suntan made you look healthy. Sadly there are still many people who believe this and even products being marketed that will try to fool you into thinking that excessive tanning is good for you. In fact there is lots of research that proves without a doubt that the idea of having a suntan to appear more healthy is false. Concentrated sun exposure often leads to skin cancers, some of which can be fatal to the victim. Recently even tanning beds have been shown to promote skin cancers in some users and there is a growing public demand for restrictions on who can visit sun tanning salons, much like regulating the sale of liquor. Obviously we all like to go outside, especially on a hot sunny day. No one is saying that you can not ever go outside or even go to the beach on a hot day. Rather you have to be much more careful now than in the past due to the harsher rays of the sun. Apply sun protection lotions prior to going outside and if you are planning to spend an extended amount of time in the sun, then use at least sun screen with a SPF rating of 30. Don’t forget to wear a hat to prevent a sun burn on your scalp and wear light clothing to help protect sensitive body parts such as your legs and arms should the lotion wear off. Many of you reading this may find that this is the most difficult one of the beauty tips to accept since we have all been subjected to so many advertisements over the years telling us how attractive looking a sun tan will make you look to the opposite sex.

I hope that these beauty tips for teenage girls discussed in this article will help you stay healthy and avoid some of the dangers associated with blindly believing things that are simply not true when we look at how to be beautiful.