Bridget Sipera, a teacher at Camden Catholic High School in New Jersey, has been charged with sexually assaulting a male student less than half her age . The two repeatedly had sex over an 18 month period.
Western society tends to view sexual activity among teens as part of the natural process of development. We bombard teens with sexual images. Discouraging sex seems repressive to us.
While we may be protective toward our daughters, some of us actually cheer our sons on. Sex with a teacher is seen as the ultimate fantasy.
But there are serious dangers associated with early sexual activity. And sex between an adult and child is as damaging to boys as it is to girls.
Teens who engage in sex are likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors in adulthood .
They are more likely to have multiple sexual partners, and less likely to use condoms. This increases their chances of contracting a sexually transmitted disease or HIV, and having an unwanted pregnancy.
Ten million of the sexually transmitted diseases newly reported each year are acquired by young people between the ages of 15 and 24 . It bears mention that the brain is not fully developed till age 25.
Early exposure to sexual content can, also, give rise to sexual addiction [4A].
Best estimates are that 3% – 6% of American men suffer from sexual addiction . However, women can fall prey to sexual addiction, too.
Sexual addiction can destroy relationships, compromise finances, and contribute to criminality.
Typically, sexual addiction is characterized by one or more of the following [4B]:
- compulsive masturbation;
- reliance on pornography and/or prostitutes;
- an endless succession of meaningless sexual encounters;
- use of fetishes in place of human interaction;
- voyeurism/exhibitionism; and
- sexual sadism or masochism.
Addicts persist in these behaviors despite the negative consequences.
In an attempt to better understand the underlying causes, some psychologists classify sexual addiction into categories . These categories help explain why certain individuals are more susceptible to sexual addiction than others. The categories can overlap.
- Biological – Most sexual addiction has a biological component. Where the biological component is predominant, fantasy can supersede or replace relationships altogether. Triggers must be identified and carefully regulated, so that the brain can be retrained to new neural pathways. A sponsor who will hold the addict accountable for lapses can be beneficial.
- Psychological – This form of sexual addiction is a reaction to childhood abuse or neglect. As many as 80% of sex addicts may fall into this category. For them, sex has become a maladaptive means of self-soothing. Their underlying psychological pain must be addressed before a healthy self-image can be re-established, more appropriate means of coping substituted, and the addiction overcome.
- Trauma-Based – This form of sexual addiction is the direct result of sexual trauma in childhood or adolescence. Trauma drives the repetitive behavior. To heal, the addict must first make the connection between such trauma and his/her acting out. Suppressed feelings surrounding the trauma must be explored and resolved.
- Mood Disorder – Sexual addiction can co-exist with anxiety and depression (as well as lead to those). Teens and young adults may use sex as a way of “managing” their mood disorder, and find themselves addicted to the sexual response.
- Spiritual – This form of sexual addiction is an attempt to fill an emptiness inside only God can fill. As the philosopher/mathematician/scientist/theologian Blaise Pascal put it, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.”
That sexual addiction is a challenging and tenacious disorder does not absolve sex addicts of the harm they inflict on others.
We owe our sons better.
 6 ABC Action News, “Camden Catholic High School teacher charged with sexual assault” by Trish Hartman, 8/27/20, https://6abc.com/camden-catholic-teacher-sex-assault-cherry-hill-new-jersey-bridget-sipera/6391338/.
 Lifespan/Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center, “Early Adolescent Sexual Risk Behavior: The Clinician’s Role” by Christopher Houck PhD, July 2010, https://www.lifespan.org/centers-services/bradley-hasbro-childrens-research-center/early-adolescent-sexual-risk-behavior.
 Centers for Disease Control, “Sexual Risk Behaviors Can Lead to HIV, STDs, & Teen Pregnancy”, https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/sexualbehaviors/index.htm.
[4A and 4B] PsychGuides, “Sex Addiction Symptoms, Causes and Effects”, https://www.psychguides.com/behavioral-disorders/sex-addiction/.
 The Recovery Ranch, “How Common Is Sex Addiction”, https://www.recoveryranch.com/addiction-blog/common-sex-addiction/.
 National Center for Biotechnology Information, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, PubMed Central, “Understanding and Managing Compulsive Sexual Behaviors” by Timothy Fong MD, November 2006, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2945841/.
 Sex Addict, “The Six Types of Sex Addicts” by Doug Weiss PhD, https://sexaddict.com/six-types-of-sex-addicts/.
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