Monday, November 27, 2000

Week of 11/27/2000

Target: Sex In Society - Part 4
Sex and Kids

- by David Matthews 2

Not too long ago, both the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and USA Today ran articles that showed today’s kids in a light that would make any parent cringe.

USA Today talked about a report due this December that showed how teenagers engaged in oral sex more commonly than generations past, and how the numbers of sexually-transmitted diseases involving the mouth and throat are on the increase. The report showed that most teenagers considered oral sex to be not as serious as actual intercourse, and in some cases the kids who engage in oral sex consider it to be more of a social advancement.

They even pulled out the old line used by such people like President Bill Clinton and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to say that oral sex wasn’t really sex. I’m sure that all of those parents who were quick to exonerate Big Bubba Spin for fooling around with Monica Lewinsky were slapping their foreheads when they heard that same line being used by their children.

The AJC article was even more chilling for parents. Instances where children as young as ten years old were engaging in prostitution, and teenagers who were getting fake identification just to dance in strip clubs. The article talked about how the men who pimp these young streetwalkers would only be charged with misdemeanors and not serve any actual jail time, and how experts feared kids lives were being harmed irrevocably because of their expose to sex at so young an age.

Now if I were some bible-thumping moralist, I would probably be railing on about how our society is heading straight to the deepest lowest bowls of Hell. I would point out that these articles are merely examples of how we’ve allowed the "evil" of sex to enter our precious society and into the minds of our children. I would rail on about how these instances are the direct result of our allowing everything from Playboy magazines to professional wrestling to even exist. I would be wanting to gather an ugly mob of upset parents, complete with torches, and burn down every nightclub, every strip club, every newsstand.

And if I were some bible-thumping moralist who was outraged by these articles, I would be storming down the halls of government and asking.. no, DEMANDING.. that our elected officials do my bidding and pass new laws that outlaw anything sexual in nature. I would want the Internet shut down, and cable television censored so the only channels people would see would be the local church broadcasts. I would treat those articles to be nothing less than a declaration of an all-out, DefCon 1, global thermonuclear societal war.

That is.. if I were some dysfunctional bible-thumping moralist with delusions of grandeur. Of course I would use these articles as justification of some crusade to punish society for their evils! What member of the dysfunctional elite wouldn’t do that? In fact, I have no doubt that was the purpose at least one of those two articles.. to get the moralists enraged and mobilized.

Fortunately for us, this commentator tends to see things a bit differently. Yes, these articles are examples, but not from our lust, but rather from our inability to handle that part of our lives.

Like any other human action and interaction, there is some element of responsibility connected to sex. And that responsibility doesn’t just involve our active participation in sex, but also with our passive participation.. from our desire to simply stick our heads in the sand and ignore sex.

Let’s get brutally honest here… sex is a part of our lives. The genie was let loose long before the Sexual Revolution, but only now are we beginning to realize that the effects extend beyond just adult actions. They extend into how our children see things as well.

The problems shown in the two newspaper articles are not the result of sex in our society, but rather from our inability to deal with it.

Some parents don’t want to realize that their kids are getting curious about sex at some point in their lives. They still think their kids are precious innocent creatures, even when their kids are the most precocious little devils. It is that ignorance that serves to harm both themselves and their children.

Are there practical solutions to the problems those two newspapers pointed out? You bet there are! But not from trying to suppress sex once again. The Victorian Age was an age of ignorance and fear. An age that made people so paranoid that they were putting covers on top of piano legs for fear that someone might be aroused by them! Resurrecting that paranoid time, as many moralists have been desperate in doing, is not only wrong, but would lead to even more problems down the road.

We need to embrace that part of our lives, to accept the fact that we ARE sexual beings, whether or not we decide to become sexually active. We need to accept the fact that sex is a part of our lives. Only then can we then decide how to deal with it.

First of all there should be no doubt that people who actively prey on children for adult gratification are the worst of the worst. Pedophilia is wrong. Period. There should be laws that prosecute and convict such people. I think even liberals would have to agree with that.

Teenagers, however, are a little more different. The words "raging hormones" may seem a bit overused, but that is precisely what is going on for these would-be adults. They are beginning to look and feel like adults, and because of that, they often try to get people to treat and even think of them as adults. Unlike children who are often tricked and forced into sex, teenagers sometimes need very little coaxing. All they sometimes need is a little makeup, and some not-so-youthful clothes.

The problem of teenagers who get fake identification just to work in strip clubs can be easily solved with the help of the people who work at those clubs. Does anyone really think that strip club owners want to get caught with some sixteen year-old girl dancing there? Of course not! The same applies to the other dancers, bouncers, and bartenders. For many of them, this is their bread and butter, not just some way to get quick mall money. If they like working at that club, they would want to make sure that the club doesn’t get shut down just because some young girl wanted to buy the latest Backstreet Boys CD.

Local communities could very easily set up an amnesty program whereby club owners and the people who work there would not be punished if they find out that someone who works there is underage so long as they notify either law enforcement or social services. Such a program would help allay the adversarial relationship that currently exists between local government and adult entertainment.

Unfortunately, it would be extremely unlikely that such an idea would ever be implemented. Doing so would mean that local governments would have to accept and work with such places, and they absolutely, positively DO NOT want to do that! That would fly in the face of everything the moralists want to do. They don’t want to work with strip clubs.. they want to shut them down! And they don’t care how they do that!

Do you think, for instance, that Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell would want to work with the very strip clubs he’s been so desperate to shut down all these years? OF COURSE NOT! Then he wouldn’t be able to go to the churches and tell all of those ministers and all of those bible-thumping moralists that he’s been doing everything in his power to shut those clubs down! So what if it means a few more underage girls manage to strut their stuff on stage? People like Mayor Campbell don’t care! All they care about is appeasing the bible-thumpers, and making themselves look good for the next election.

Since it’s become painfully obvious that those in government don’t care about the issue, those people who operate and work in strip clubs will have to care… lest they find those self-serving moralists at their front door.

As for those teenagers and oral sex… Once again, parents are finding out the hard way that the things that they excuse do come back to haunt them. I don’t care if people consider it to be foreplay, after-play, appetizer, dessert, main course, a light snack, or finger food... oral sex may not get a girl pregnant, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t get a sexually transmitted disease either.

Never mind what Bill Clinton or Newt Gingrich tell people. When they said that oral sex is not sex, they said it in order to keep their jobs. Oral sex IS sex. It involves sexual gratification with another person, therefore it does qualify as sex.

Those little nuggets of information need to be incorporated into the rest of our teaching our young and not-quite adult population about the birds and the bees. Oral sex is still just as risky as any other traditional (and not-so traditional) forms of sexual intercourse, only without pregnancy. Those risks can be cut down by the use of protection. Make use of it.

You know, all of these problems we have with sex are the result of our own dysfunction over the issue. American culture is obsessed with sex only because we’ve been lied to and told by moralists and religious figures that it is wrong. Those bible-thumpers and moralists are the true source of our dysfunction.. and until we shake their influence off of society, we will never be free of those problems.

The young generation takes their lead from their predecessors and from the generations before them. Our dysfunction become their dysfunction. Our hypocrisy becomes their hypocrisy. If we want the next generation to learn from the lessons of our mistakes concerning sex, then we have to get rid of our social and sexual hang-ups first.

Let’s stop sticking our head in the sand.. or in this case in the laps of our partners.. and deal with ourselves AS sexual creatures. That is the only way we can move on from there to being RESPONSIBLE sexual creatures, and showing the next generation by example how to behave.

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