High school students in Wood County sexually active at young age

Alex Traczyk and Alex Traczyk

High school students in Wood County are having sex at a younger age, but experts say sex is not the problem; being safe is.

In a recent study of how many sexual partners high school students in Wood County have had, the average is lower than the national average.

In Wood County, 10 percent of high school students have had four or more sexual partners, which is less than the national average of 15 percent.

Though Wood County is below the average, it still seems like a big number, but people will argue that it is not the sex that matters.

Ben Batey, director of Nursing at the Wood County Health District, does not see the number as a main problem.

“The 10 percent just shows that we’re doing a better job at [sexual education] in Wood County than the rest of the state because it is lower than the national average,” Batey said. “Striving for a lower number is difficult. There is already [an expected] threshold, but with the right sex education explaining the risks of multiple sex partners, there is potential for it to lower.”

Sex is taught for teenagers to know all of the possible outcomes of their sexual actions. Many schools offer sex education programs to their students to keep them informed.

Karen Guzzo, assistant professor of sociology at the University, believes that sex is not the problem.

Even though sex is everywhere in today’s culture, culture is not to blame, she said.

It is not the fact that kids are having sex; it is if they are doing it in a safe and responsible way that matters, Guzzo said.

“I don’t think that teenagers having sex is not necessarily a bad thing as long as they understand the risk,” Guzzo said. “They’re taking responsibility for it, and they’re having it in committed relationships without being under the influence of drugs and alcohol.”

She said those aspects of sexual relations are more important than the kids having sex at all.

There is a big age gap from freshman year of high school to senior year.

The age range from high school students is 14 to 18 years old.

Keeping that in mind, four or more sexual partners does not seem like that many considering how many relationships a student may be in, Guzzo said.

“I think that teenagers that have already lost their virginity think less about having more partners,” Guzzo said. “Once you’ve already done it, you can’t be less of a virgin.”

According to Guzzo, 75 percent of people have sex by age 20.

“Ten percent seems high, but if the average person has sex at age 16 or 17, that’s still three or four more years before they age out of being a teenager,” she said.

Freshman Andrew Salvagni is not surprised that students are engaging in sexual experiences earlier in age.

“I don’t put the blame on anything specific because with shows like “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom,” it seems like sex is being glorified in a way,” Salvagni said.

He said he is aware students will be sexually active at one point or another and the fact that the average in Wood County is lower that is somewhat of a good thing.

“My little brother is going to be in high school soon and it is weird to think that he is going to be sexually active,” Salvagni said.

Salvagni said he hopes students are responsible and aware of what they are actually doing.

“I just hope that the kids realize the risks there are of being sexually active and that even though they think they might be ready, they may not be,” Salvagni said.