The Student News Site of Taipei American School




Revealed: TAS talks about Sex


Joshua looked at his phone then looked away. He has been waiting for his girlfriend’s reply for the past couple of hours. They have been together for the past six months and recently Joshua has been trying to take their relationship to the “next level”.
“We came really close to doing it once,” he said smirking. “I just didn’t have a condom, but I think it will probably happen soon. I kind of want it to.”
Joshua could be joining, in the near future, the 12 percent of the TAS Upper School student body who admit they’re no longer virgins. Though some may find this number alarming, it’s minuscule when compared to the US High Schools. Surveys indicated 46.8 percent of high school students have had sex, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Report.
The percentage of US teens who has ever had sexual intercourse has been declining : it was 54.1 percent in 1991 until 2001, when it fell to less than half. This decrease might be the result of changes in sexual education in US high schools but some argue that the decrease is actually caused by a blurred definition teenagers have of “sex.”
Teenagers today are more open to a range of sexual activities, and this has narrowed the list of activities one would have to engage in to constitute “losing your virginity.”
“Teenage sex should not be frowned upon if it is carefully thought out by the parties involved,” said Vincent Huang, a senior at TAS. “Ultimately, if both parties are sure it is what they want, there is nothing wrong with it. Love is what drives humanity forward but be careful to distinguish between love and lust.”
Some, however, believe that identifying oneself as a virgin even after limited sexual activity is important as being a non-virgin might be shameful or impure. Students also regret sex afterwards.
“When you’re blinded by love, you do things you might regret later on,” said a student who has had sex before. “I wish I saved it for someone I won’t regret later on, but at that moment you really don’t know whether he/she is right or not.”
Others find being a non-virgin as merely a different life choice.
“I don’t regret having sex,” said another student. “Sex is nice and fun. As long as you’re doing it for yourself and not for approval or popularity, it is all good. You just have to make sure you’re safe and know what you’re doing. This requires knowing yourself pretty well.”
However, sexual education teachers at TAS share a different view, warning students of the the high risk of disease and “unwanted consequences” that associated.
“Most teenagers are not mature enough to consider the impact of this decision, at this point in their life,” said Mr. Daniel Long, a sex ed teacher at TAS.
With almost 70 percent of the sexually active students stating that they were not dating their last sexual partner, the question becomes – Is there a “hook up” culture at TAS? While most TAS students are not sexually active, it appears those who are, are very active.
“I don’t think you should have sex until you really love that person, but if you want to satisfy your urges I suppose it can’t be helped,” said Vincent.
“Why should you hide your urges just because it makes you impure? People think sex is a bad thing because it’s impure but I don’t,” said one sexually active student. “Sex isn’t bad. It’s completely natural.”
When asked about the hookup culture, Mr. Long said he found it “devaluing of people.”
“Call me old-fashioned, but in my opinion, having sex between individuals isn’t just a simple physical act. It is a connection on an emotional and physical level that implies value in each other,” said Mr. Long. “The hookup culture takes that away and makes it a simple exchange. For that reason, the hookup culture de-values rather than values each person.”
Perhaps the more alarming number from the Blue & Gold survey would be that 49 percent of the sexually experience  students did not use a condom. The US percentage came in at 59.1 percent for this same question. However, sexual education teachers believe that this isn’t a surprising thing as the sexually active students at TAS are  probably the ones willing to take risks in the first place.
“It shouldn’t surprise us that a large number of them (the sexually active students) aren’t using condoms. They are already taking additional risks to be sexually active in this culture, in this setting,” said Mr. Long. “[Sexually active students] in this setting would be a more risk-taking group; which would include the same kids that would more likely to not use a condom.”
One sexually active boy said that he always uses a condom to “reduce the risk of pregnancy for my partner.”
“Since we’re extremely close, I know she doesn’t have STDs, but pregnancy is obviously less than ideal at this stage in our lives,” he said.
The percentage of female students who are sexually active at TAS is also higher than the percentage of male students. This is the opposite of the US numbers, where the male rate is a few points higher than the female rate.
Sex has always been an aspect of high school. As generations after generations of students graduate from the ever important secondary school education system, the topic of sexual behaviours and activities is always going to be relevant.
So as night falls over the Taipei basin, Joshua stands, relaxed, at the top of Mt. Elephant overlooking the vibrant city. His hands curl around the girl he’s been in love with lately as they hold each other tightly: 6 months and counting.
Note: Names, ages, and genders may have been altered to ensure the confidentiality of sources.

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