A new survey has found that atleast 50 percent of the teens that attend the school leaver's celebrations will indulge in some form of sex. The survey also found that oral sex is on the raise in these celebrations.
WA AIDS Council said that there is often a 100 per cent rise in sales of the morning-after pill where such festivities take place and a number of leavers catch sexual diseases there.
"At least half the (leavers) will be engaging in sexual activity. That can be from petting, right through to intercourse, and even engaging in experimental behaviour with two or three people," News.com.au quoted Gareth Merriman, Curtin University senior lecturer in sexology, as saying.
"Girls are engaging in oral sex at a much younger age to find out if their boyfriend really loves them - of course there's no connection between the two. "But the dilemma with leavers, or anything involving high excitement, drugs and alcohol, is... some of these people will be too intoxicated or under pressure, and will regret (their actions) the next day,'' Merriman added.
Michael Carr-Gregg, a child psychologist, said there had been an increase in sexual practices among teens copied from Internet pornography, and leavers' celebrations were no exception. "Things like group sex have become quite popular and that would simply not have happened a couple of years ago. And for a lot of young people, sex is now all about pleasuring the male, and I think that's very sad.'' Dr Carr-Gregg said.
Gemma Crawford, a WA AIDS Council spokeswoman, said that the council had heard reports of a "100 per cent increase in the sales of emergency contraception'' at leavers' party spots. "And we know, from speaking to sexual health services, there will be a number of young people diagnosed (with diseases) after they come home,'' she said.
*What is disturbing for parents is that about half the teenagers in that group will have started experimenting sexually, with 16 the average age for first intercourse. Added to this is the fact that many teens go to these parties with lots of alcohol - often supplied by parents, said Curtin University sexology lecturer Lorel Mayberry.
"Parents need to consider what they're doing. No matter how much police, family planning and the AIDS Council do on Rottnest, if young people are coming armed with lots and lots of alcohol, and no food, or anything else ... problems go from there,'' she said. Dr Merriman said leavers and parents could do a lot to minimise risk during the party period and many youngsters were already acting responsibly.
"Young people are also saying, `Tonight, how about I don't drink? You guys drink, I'll be the safe person.' That's really good responsible behaviour. There are some people who say they shouldn't be drinking anyway, they're only 17, and there are all those legal ramifications," he said. "But the bottom line is that these are young people who are treated as adults in many ways and we need to be giving them messages about harm reduction, not about abstinence.
We need to be saying, `If you're engaging in this sort of behaviour, realise the long-term consequences. Don't take high risks and make sure you have a safe person with you','' he added.