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Video: Naive Innocence - Relations
Social norms change over time, and new views appear on the sex life of adolescents. If earlier it was considered necessary to “take care of yourself before the wedding”, today, on the contrary, virginity becomes a problem. We talked with sexologist Yuri Prokopenko about how the attitude towards sexual innocence has changed.
Yuri PROKOPENKO is a sexologist and sex therapist, candidate of medical sciences, psychotherapist, journalist, expert on many television and radio programs, author of more than 1200 publications in the media, 16 books on the topics of love and sex, a researcher at the Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry.
Yuri, tell me, has the attitude of young people towards virginity changed recently? What do the statistics say about the age of sexual debut?
For a long time, professional sexologists have not conducted nationwide research on this topic in Russia. If we talk about the late eighties, the numbers were as follows: at the age of 13, 4% of adolescents began to have sex, at 14 - 13%, at 15 - 38%, at 16 - more than 50%. I can guess further metamorphoses from the requests of my clients; in the nineties, the percentage of early sexual activity definitely increased. But it is at its highest right now. Fortunately, few people already see something reprehensible in this.
The society stopped putting excessive pressure on the younger generation, and the topics of sex were no longer taboo. The general knowledge of adolescents about contraception, safe sex, and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases has significantly increased.
Are there any not so obvious changes?
There is one interesting trend. Quite a frequent occurrence has become the sexual intercourse of young people who are familiar with each other in the same short period of time. Roughly speaking, a girl comes to school on September 1 and says that she has lost her virginity - and does not regret it at all. In a warm circle of friends, loss of virginity immediately becomes popular. In an effort to repeat the "exploit of the scout", classmates already before the New Year begin to live a sex life.
By the way, this is the real story of one of my patients. She was one of those schoolgirls who, in their incomplete 14 years, went en masse to study the unknown. But the most interesting thing in this story is its continuation. After the "collective" deprivation of virginity, my patient (and I dare to assume that most of her friends) had a long break in her sex life. She began to have regular sex only at the age of 16, when she developed a meaningful relationship with a young man.
In other words, the very fact of losing virginity does not mean that our teenagers start sleeping with everyone. On the contrary: when the initial interest (or even envy of peers who successfully resolved the issue of virginity) is satisfied, there is a lull. They don't really have a need for sex. And only then, when the need for a love relationship arises, young people rediscover sex for themselves.
To whom chastity is a burden, one should not advise him: lest it become a path to hell, turning into filth and lust of the soul
Is it really so simple attitude to the lack of virginity in girls before the wedding?
In society as a whole, yes. But all people are different: for some, innocence still matters. But this is more an example of a psychological rather than a social barrier of men. I had a client who could not step over himself and marry a non-virgin. He treated his girlfriend very anxiously, ashore, and the thought of another man was not so much annoying as it caused disgust. But these are already very personal moments, and not the realities of our time in general.
Nowadays, the young lady's innocence has lost its value. Girls stopped flaunting virginity as a kind of "quality mark". Moreover, modern girls perceive it more as a problem. "Doctor, what should I do, I'm 25, I'm having an affair, and I'm still a girl." For me as a sexologist, this attitude is not new. This phenomenon has existed for a long time, but now it has become a trend. Despite the fact that there are just more virgins. A whole generation has already grown up before our eyes, for which late sexual intercourse is a problem. It could be synonymous with unattractiveness, or the fear of losing an important relationship due to sexual inexperience, or whatever.
Are there still men who “take care of themselves until the wedding”?
Remained. Another question is why they stayed. And this, by the way, is very curious. Boys begin sexual activity two to three years later than girls. After all, it's much easier for girls to have sex for the first time. In fact, they only need to say no in time. For young people, things are different. To get the coveted sex, you have to work. Come up with where everything will happen, with whom, on what occasion, please the chosen one, persuade to succumb to your onslaught. This is not so easy, especially when there are exaggerated requirements for a candidate, so many really delay the happy hour of their exit from the ranks of virgins.
It used to be that mothers everywhere told their daughters fables about pain during defloration, about the “psychological barrier” (“to let someone in”). Although in fact this is complete nonsense. Moreover: this categorically cannot be told to girls and girls, because mental processes are closely interconnected with physiological ones. With such pressure, the risk of vaginismus increases, that is, it is already a disease that must be treated.
Society vitally needed "horror stories" about defloration in order to control the age at which girls first had sexual intercourse. Innocence has been greatly overestimated ideologically. And if for a long time the deterrent function was performed by religion, then at the moment when it stopped helping, it was necessary to find new solutions. It was then that we were all "drew" pseudo-medical and supposedly psychological justifications why it is not worth starting early sex.
In 2014, the Scientific Center for Children's Health (a subdivision of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences - RAMS) conducted an all-Russian survey among teenage schoolchildren. He showed that by the age of 15, 41% of girls had already had sexual experience. Compared to a similar survey in 1995, the proportion of 15-year-old girls who had sex increased by a third. At the same time, 8% of modern girls have lost their virginity by the age of 13. According to VTsIOM, the average age at the onset of sexual activity in Russia (in 2006) was 16 years (in 1993 - 19.5 years). Moreover, the world average is 17 years.
Today a teenager can easily find scientific information and get rid of imposed myths and stereotypes
There are both useful and dangerous aspects to the availability of information. It is quite difficult for young minds to figure out which sources can be trusted and which cannot. And many have forgotten how to educate themselves through reading. Unfortunately, teenagers can see enough pornography. And this is not useful knowledge at all.
There is such a concept - psychosexual development, that is, consistent disclosure and understanding of one's gender. It is consistent, characteristic of a certain age and psychological state. Relatively speaking, you can still play a trick on a two-year-old child by promising that the boy will wake up a girl in the morning. And at this age he will easily be offended that this did not happen. But at the age of five, he already perfectly understands that such a transformation is impossible.
There are many such stages of psychosexual development. And the main thing in this chain is its continuity. Before a teenager has sex for the first time, at the age of 12-13, he must go through the stages of becoming platonic, then erotic, and only then sexual libido. In that order.
But today a second-grader goes to the Internet to look for a puzzle about two excavators, and he is shown "specialists" who are not at all engaged in their direct duties. At this age, the boy is not yet able to understand and adequately perceive what he saw, it is early and harmful for him. It is harmful because if at one stage something is perverted, the next stages also go astray.
When the platonic or erotic stage falls out, adolescents lose the ability to fall in love, lose understanding of the relationship between feelings and sex. They are unable to understand how attraction is born from feelings of interest and inspiration. For them, sex is a physical exercise, and they themselves become just a piece of meat, as in some kind of "rocking chair". And therefore they become insanely bored. Many of them see not a partner, but only a wrapper.
At the same time, young people can believe in love, only for them this is an abstract experience that has nothing to do with sex. That is, they know the higher mathematics of relations, but do not know the elementary arithmetic of relations. They do not know and do not understand that sex is actually needed to know each other, for intimacy. And this distortion is very difficult to correct even for specialists.
Sex is not the solution
Early sexual intercourse is permissible if the adolescent is ready for this morally and physically, and does not follow the "herd feeling" or does not try to solve some psychological problems with the obvious early deprivation of innocence. Sometimes it's not just curiosity. Very often they suffer from a lack of love, affection and acceptance in the family and look for it on the side. Including agreeing to have sex with those from whom they hope to receive it.
This way of solving the problem is dangerous - after all, it is easy for an inexperienced teenager to get confused and become a victim of a manipulative relationship, get into a serious psychological dependence on a partner, go all out in search of love and warmth, which the family lacks. If it became known that a teenager began to have sex too early, parents should not scold him and "tighten the screws." This can only make the situation worse.
psychologist, family psychotherapist, image consultant