There is considerable debate and controversy surrounding the notion of allowing adolescents to have a romantic partner spend the night, with most of the debate surrounding the topic of sexual intercourse. The video we watched for class highlighted important topics in the debate and it also presented the importance of cultural considerations as there appear to be vastly different views, specifically in the difference between views on sex in the United States versus in Amsterdam. While arguments can be made for and against allowing teenagers to have romantic partners spend the night with possible sex involvement, I argue against allowing teens to have romantic partners spend the night.There is considerable evidence to suggest that many teenagers are sexually active (47%; Resource Center for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, 2014); however, just because they are sexually active does not mean that parents should condone or promote sexual activity during these early years of development.
Many teenagers might see a lack of a private and comfortable place for sex as a deterrent to early sexual activity, while other teenagers may find ways to engage in sexual activity even if they are relatively closely supervised. While some may argue that allowing teens to have sex within the home could ensure safety and access to protective measures such as condoms, it may also lead to children having sex earlier because it is not seen as taboo. I strongly believe that children should be educated about sex and safety; however, I also strongly believe that teenagers are not fully capable of making long-term decisions since their brains are not fully developed at this point in life (e.g. Romer, 2010). This lack of brain development, especially in the frontal lobes, makes children more impulsive and more prone to take risks. This lack of full brain development, combined with the fact that allowing for sex within the childhood home may make children try sex earlier, makes me feel strongly that children should not be allowed to have romantic partners sleep over with the possibility of sexual intercourse.
Overall, I strongly believe that children should have more independence with age and with development. As children approach their adult years, I believe there should be conversations about having romantic partners spend the night; however, this new responsibility and privilege should be reserved for the late teenage/early twenty years.
- Resources Center for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention. (2014). Statistics. Retrieved from: www.recapp.etr.org
- Romer, D. (2010). Adolescent risk taking, impulsivity, and brain development: Implications for prevention. Developmental Psychobiology, 52(3), 263-276.