Into sex out of peer pressure

Love or no love, 'everyone is doing it' is the pitch for having sex. Virginity is primitive. One-night stands and no emotional baggage is cool. Marriages are perpetual decisions and live-in relationships are mainstream.
And teenagers are not far behind.
The trend to be in a relationship is now becoming an image liability among young peer groups and they feel irresistible pressure to confirm to what their friends are doing. Dr Anjali Chhabaria, clinical psychiatrist, based in Mumbai, mentions a case about a 13 year old girl who was in and out of relationships, yes even at that age!
"The child herself wasn't happy being in these relationships. But felt compelled to do so because she wanted to be accepted as the hottest girl in her friend circle. And the numerous relationships that she got into was just to prove that point."
In another case, Dr Pulkit Sharma, clinical psychologist, VIMAHNS tells us about a 14 year old boy who felt inferior because his classmates would constantly jab him for not having a girlfriend. "When friends discuss sex as 'great fun' peers begin to feel the pressure within and relate it directly with self image and self esteem," says he.
Often sexual desire becomes the premise for a relationship. As Apurva Pandit, a post graduate psychology student recalls her early college days, "My friend would always complain of her boyfriend being too touchy. But since the relationship was new and it got her much-needed emotional support, she went along with it."
Agrees Dr Pulkit Sharma, "Relationships where sexual needs are a priority are rampant today. There may not be a loud and clear demand for it, but mostly boys may subtly pressurise their partner for physical involvement."
Amit (name changed), a software professional recalls his college days. Being the studious types, he was not keen on talking about sex or anything related. But one of his friends would explicitly indulge in sex talk. Since the incongruity was immense, this friend later shifted to another group and Amit got to know later, he went on to have numerous flings.
Peer pressure and westernised media may have de-senitised people towards sexual relationships. But are mental and emotional capabilities to be forsaken?
Warns Dr Dheerendra Kumar, a clinical psychologist, "Portrayal of western culture and media exposure has floated casual sex as a trend. Now there are condoms for twelve year old boys! But the situation can be a reverse if a girl gets pregnant. The same friend circle might refuse to accept her. And all of this can be extremely demanding on a person's mental health."
Sense of morality and preparedness varies with different people, but impressions at a young age can impact an individual's whole life. Talking about a case, Dr Anjali says a 35 year old patient's reason for panic attacks was found to be linked to his teen years. "He was raised in a very promiscuous manner and to prove his masculinity, he slept with a girl at the age of sixteen. But since he couldn’t deliver, he took himself to be impotent and the fear of impotency depressed him all those years."
Often in such cases people may end up feeling depressed or guilty. There could be irreversible personality changes as emotional upheavals of these kinds have tremendous impact on a person.
Dr Dheerendra blames the narrow mindset that forbids parents from talking about sex with their children. With curiosity in the fast lane, such issues need to be addressed. "What parents need to understand is that sex education is important. And attitudes have to change," says Dr Anjali Chhbaria.
Considering casual sex is at the verge of being internalised as a part of lifestyle in teen years, its urgent that parents catch up with their children just in time and not let teen years be a distressing period that can agonize a lifetime.

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