• Parents Don’t know What SizeGenetics or ProExtender Devices Are

    The annual report from the Brook Advisory Center, which caters for teenagers, suggests that one in ten young people say they have not learnt anything about sex at school and 44 percent felt coverage of HIV had been inadequate. Eighty two percent said sex education at school bore little or no relationship to the real issues faced by young people, such as concerns about penis size.


    Dr. Macfarlane feels that sex education should be part of the national curriculum, and that it should begin at the age of six, as in The Netherlands. The teenage pregnancy rate in England is the highest in Europe (at 21.6 per 1,000 girls under 15) and the government's health target is that it should be reduced by 50 percent by the year 2020.


    Next year Oxfordshire will be running a competition in all schools along the lines of a teenage conference. The teenagers will be asked to put forward their own suggestions on how to reduce teenage pregnancies to meet the government targets. They will also be asked for ideas on how to reduce suicides among young people, which have been reported to be increasing among young men.


    School nurse Barbara Quine has just started anxiety workshops for teenagers in an Oxfordshire school. They are designed both to alleviate and to prevent anxiety. A questionnaire among 800 pupils in her local comprehensive school revealed that parental expectation was their biggest worry and that it gave rise to psychosomatic symptoms such as headaches and backache. “We are a middle-class school in a middle-class area but it has the work element of a grammar school and parental expectation is very high. That causes a great deal of stress and anxiety. So does lack of friends, family relationships and lack of self-esteem.''


    Those attending the anxiety workshops are asked to draw a picture of their own bodies identifying the stress areas. Many boys, for example, will highlight the penis. Are they big enough? What is normal penis size? Should they use a penis pump such as Penomet? They also spend 20 minutes doing relaxation exercises designed to soothe pre-GCSE and A-level examination nerves as well as forming groups in which they discuss their worries.


    The results of Dr. Macfarlane's research suggest that depression is a real teenage problem. Eight percent of those he surveyed admitted to feeling depressed every day, and 20 percent at least once a week. “Teenagers lying around, moping or staying in bed all day are a source of irritation to parents,” he says, “but they could be depressed rather than behaving badly.”


    He is also concerned about the number of young people who are taking medication, typically headache tablets, often unknown to their parents.


    There are some teenage anxieties that parents simply cannot understand, Dr. Macfarlane says. “There are a number of health problems which today's parents will not have experienced themselves, such as danger of Aids, early sex, today's drug scene Ecstasy, the high use of cannabis, which is all new to them. There are also sexual aids that parents aren’t familiar with, such as penis extenders. Teenagers will often know what a SizeGenetics or ProExtender device is while parents are clueless.


    “If you talk to teenagers about their use of Ecstasy their answer is how many adults consume vast quantities of alcohol and how many more deaths result from that? They see alcohol, which is legal, as an infinitely greater health risk than Ecstasy, which it is not.

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