Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Adolescence: The Dawn of Reproduction

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on January 26, 2012

 Moses Laufer says that the key to understanding adolescence is to have a deep appreciation for the ability to make a human being, the ability to reproduce. This dawning creates anxiety and hope which shapes the adolescent mind, he claims. Willow, age twenty-four, has never had a serious relationship and she cannot figure out why. Mr. Laufer would say that she is afraid of the sexual demands in such a relationship and the threat of reproduction. He has an interesting point. As an alcoholic cannot have the first drink, otherwise he/she will get drunk, it is possible that Willow avoids the threat of having a baby by avoiding relationships all together. It does make sense that the appreciation of one’s reproductive potential creates, for some, unbearable anxiety. As one moves through the train of adolescence, and one feels egocentric, the threat of being responsible for another human being can be seen as a challenge to one’s developmentally appropriate selfishness. How one deals with this potential says a lot about personality and personality development. I am sure there are many reasons for Willow’s loneliness. Now, Mr. Laufer has added one that I did not consider before. Thanks.

4 Responses to “Adolescence: The Dawn of Reproduction”

  1. Shelly said

    What a very interesting and thought-provoking blog, Shirah. So you are saying that adolescence is a phase where one is selfish and self-focusing because one is not yet ready to procreate and think about parenting another human being. So what about single mothers who become parents at 14, or 15? Was it accidental and they are still adolescents (and are still “not ready” emotionally)? And another question: could people consider their sexuality or sexual orientation because they are so anxious about reproduction (as you say) and fear the responsibility about taking care of someone else, but perhaps may be perfectly heterosexual in fact?

    • Yes, that is what I am saying. Teenage pregnancy does present a number of issues, as the adolescent’s growth is almost always stunted. Yes, I would think that in some cases sexual orientation is founded on a fear of reproduction. Thanks, as always.

  2. Jon said

    I take issue with the concept of avoiding a relationship for an adolescent is avoiding reproduction. This would be true before the age of contraception; however, we have lived in an age of simple, cheap, and rather reliable contraception since the 60’s and the advent of the pill. (Arguably, there were viable contraception methods long before the pill, but some of those who practiced those methods became know by another name – parents.) Perhaps there are some vestigial feelings that go beyond the rational, but there are modern ways of dealing with heterosexual relationships without reproduction.

    • Yes, Jon, I agree,but at the same time, as you allude to this idea, the realization of one’s potential as a reproductive human being, for some folks, is an overwhelming thought, even though there are methods to control the potential of reproduction. The thought of what one’s body can do, which it could not do before puberty, again, for some folks, takes a bit of getting used to. Thanks, as always.

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