Teens on relationships

'You've been given the 'wear a Johnny' speech'

ADAM ROBERTS
Last updated 13:00 18/10/2012
Teenage romance
DRAMA: In the third part of the Nelson Mail's series on teenagers, we look at relationships.

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Nelson teenagers are no strangers to alcohol-assisted one-night stands, but say that they generally practice safe sex.

Others are in longer-term relationships and spend their weekends dating, or as one put it, "going for a feed with the missus", although some lament the lack of nightlife in Nelson.

Such stories come from interviews with year-13 students from the region's high schools, who answered questions about sex and relationships as part of the Nelson Mail's series on teenagers.

Sex was a part of teenage life for all those interviewed.

Answering a question about how far they would go in a relationship, one teen said, "just before pregnancy".

He was joking, but his attitude was consistent with most of those interviewed.

Another said sex was hardly a big deal, possibly because they had been given safe-sex speeches so early and often.

"We've kind of grown up. You've been given the ‘wear a Johnny' speech since you were in year 8.

"They're even in intermediate school now, telling you to wear a condom. You're like, ‘I'm 12'."

Another said while people were not expected to have sex, it did feel like the norm in a way.

"But no-one should feel pressured."

Others agreed that it was a "two-sided street" and both parties needed to be comfortable.

One-night stands were not uncommon, and were often assisted by alcohol. "I know so many people who have just got drunk, their inhibitions have left them and they end up rooting. Woken up in the morning and thought, holy s...," one teenage boy said.

Another said drunken encounters comprised some people's entire relationships.

"I know people who hook up every time they get drunk, but they don't talk to each other apart from that."

Some teens their own age had children, but it was not common.

"People having kids is unusual, but people getting pregnant happens more often."

Those interviewed said relationships started with meetings through friends, school or sport, or just "randomly" out at the weekend.

Many teenagers interviewed had been in relationships for as long as two years - a significant chunk of time at such a young age.

Proper dating was being able to hang out with someone normally, more like a friend, one said.

Another said the experience was fun, but mundane.

"There's not much to do in Nelson. You go out for dinner or the movies, or if there's an event on, you'll go to that.

"But otherwise you do your normal thing. She goes to work. I go to school. It's more just going for a feed with the missus. Go shopping. It's like having another good mate that you shag."

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Some teenagers were more drawn to the settled-down lifestyle than others.

"You get people who are like, be together forever, and people who just want one-night stands," one boy said.

Another said they knew of people who refused to be in a relationship at this stage of their lives.

TEEN TALK

Today: Relationships. Friday: Technology and the media. Saturday: Feedback from reporter Adam Roberts and readers.

- The Nelson Mail

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