Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tattoos and Teen Pregnancy?

I love analogies. Complicated ideas make more sense to me when broken down into basic, real-life applications or situations I understand, and I find myself assigning symbolic meaning to little day-to-day things. I often use analogies in my work with young people because, just like me, the analogies help them to connect with difficult concepts. That’s where my new tattoo comes in…

My newest tattoo
I’m not someone who people would really expect to have a tattoo. I’m fairly clean-cut, conservative and traditional. But I actually have 3 tattoos – each one gotten about 8 years apart. I’ll never forget the reaction my parents had when they saw my first one during my freshman year in college. Shock is the kindest word to describe it. My mom eventually said to me, “I guess I never thought to tell you not to get a tattoo.” My mom understood that while a tattoo may seem like a good idea at the moment, it’s something permanent – an image that sticks with you for life. Even with the modern miracles of laser treatment, some remainder of the tattoo always exists. Getting a tattoo is not something that should be taken lightly or decided on in the heat of the moment when it’s something you’ll live with forever.

And here’s the analogy. Sex is like that. Having sex is something that will stay with you forever. When it comes to teen pregnancy prevention, we often focus on what happens from the waist down, but there are tremendous emotional and spiritual consequences to sex as well. Connecting so intimately with another human being affects you permanently regardless of potential for pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases or use of contraception. We should be talking more about this with our young people to help them understand that having sex is not something to be taken lightly or decided on in the heat of the moment. No matter what the world around us may portray, sex is a big deal and should be treated as such.

Fortunately, I’ve never regretted any of my tattoos. Each one represents a specific period in my life and holds special meaning for me, but maybe we could use the tattoo analogy to help young people understand sex on a different level. Sex is not meant to be bad or dirty. But sex IS a big deal. It’s a permanent, forever thing that can’t be taken back. And, just like with tattoos, making the decision to have sex with someone is not a decision you want to grow up to regret.

by Dana Becker, Spartanburg Community Mobilization Coordinator, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

No comments:

Post a Comment