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If this is the sexual revolution, consider me a counter-revolutionary

I spent an hour or so last night discussing my negative feelings expressed in the post below with my husbad. We both came to the same conclusion. Bear with me while I get to it.

When it comes down to it, it's not the book deals or celebrity status that bothers me, and it's not jealousy or bitterness that is giving rise to my exasperation with the story. It's about women and girls and the way we view ourselves.

I probably would not have written what I did last night if I were not still reeling from what I read at Joanne Jacobs's site the other day.

Friends with 'benefits': "Hooking up" -- a no-strings sexual encounter that may range from kissing to oral sex to intercourse -- is more common than dating for affluent suburban teen-agers, according to a New York Times Magazine story. Girls in eighth or ninth grade perform oral sex on boys. Kids don't like commitment. Some go to online sites where they can "post profiles, exchange e-mail and arrange to hook up" with strangers. The trend toward ''hooking up'' and ''friends with benefits'' (basically, friends you hook up with regularly) has trickled down from campuses into high schools and junior highs -- and not just in large urban centers. Cellphones and the Internet, which offer teenagers an unparalleled level of privacy, make hooking up that much easier, whether they live in New York City or Boise.

Basically, these young girls hand out blow jobs like candy. No relationship, on hand holding; just some teenage girls giving relief to horny boys. What do the girls get out of it? I can't figure that out. Do they get the satisfaction of a job well done? Do they get some deep down pleasure at having fulfilled their friend's sexual needs? If so, why? Why would a young girl give of herself like that so freely?

Do you see where the two stories are connected? Actually, there are two ways I connect them. The first is that the media loves girls who put out. Apparently, that holds true whether the girls are fourteen or grown women.

My daughter is fourteen years old. This is not what I want her to learn about sex. It's not a commodity. It is not a bargaining tool and it is not to be used as leverage.

What ever happened to self-worth?

One of the things I talk to my daughter about when we have conversations about sex is self-esteem. I emphasize this: If a guy says to you "if you really love/like me, then you'll do this for me" the best thing to do is run. Fast. Never, ever let a guy make you feel that doing sexual favors for him is how you prove your feelings. It's a lie. Remember that you are worth more than what your hands or mouth can do for him. Respect yourself as a person and demand that whatever boy you are with does the same.

It's my contention that girls who give in to boys who are only looking for a short burst of pleasure and nothing else will end up with little self-worth and a warped view of sex. Trust me on how I came to this conclusion. It was not an easy lesson to learn and I'll be damned if I am going to let the same things happen to my daughter. I certainly don't want it to happen to your daughter, either. The only thing a girl gets out of a quickie behind the school playground is a bad reputation and small rip in their self image. The more the girl continues to be a playground toy, the larger the rip becomes.

Do you know what your daughters are doing? Do you know what your sons are doing? I wonder how many parents of boys give them the same talk as girls are presumably given, that females are more than their breasts, more than the sexual pleasure they can give you? When I was a teenager, it was standard procedure for the girls to get the burden: boys will be boys, so it is up to girls to say no.

So what's different today? What has the sexual revolution brought us? Not much, from the looks of it. Girls are putting out a younger age. The definition of sex is fuzzy. Half of the girls that are in junior high today will end up with a lot of regret some day.

I'm not saying sex is bad and teenagers should never think about it. It's part of human nature, especially in the early teen years. I don't want my daughter to ever think of sex as something inherently bad. But I don't want her to see it as a tool, either. Giving a friend a blowjob is not having sex in the full meaning of the word. For most girls - one can presume this after reading article after article about middle school sex - it's just currying favor, which makes the giver a bit of whore.

So how many of these girls who are doing "favors" for male friends or putting out to prove their devotion to a boy are going to end some day like Jessica Cutler, putting a price on their booty or using sex as a way to get what they want, be that money, fame or a husband? Is that the way you want your daughter going through life? Hardly.

Self-worth is sometimes all one has. To have that taken away, little by little, just so some boy who was never taught by his parents to respect girls can have a few moments of orgasmic bliss is a very sad thing.

You can blame the media, which goes to great lengths to give the sluttiest women the most coverage. You can blame the fashion industry, which seems to believe that little girls should dress like the sluts the media thinks they are. Or you can blame parents who teach their kids the basics of sex, but don't teach about the emotions and necessary respect involved.

This is not well thought out, it's simply off the cuff comments stemming from a very depressing conversation last night.

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» http://davesnothere.blogs.com/davesnothere/2004/06/a_few_months_ag.html from dave's not here
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Comments

I had a few friends in middle school who were sexually active. It bothe intrigued me and grossed me out. But they'd talk about it like it was something to brag about. One girl lost her virginity on a bathroom floor and the guy didn't bother to stop even though her head was hitting the side of the tub (which would be comical if she wasn't THIRTEEN at the time).

I hope to raise a son with more respect for women and for himself.

That post isn't well thought out?

Damn.

Very nice for "off-the-cuff" Michele. Wonderful post.

How do we even begin to talk about teen sexuality anymore without falling into the abyss of personal politics: "your body is a sacred temple/wait for marriage" vs. "sex is natural/teens experiment/why try to dam a raging hormonal river"?

You're trying to find a sane middle-ground (what good parent isn't) that seems to have disappeared of late. I feel your pain. I have boys. No one dodges this bullet, though. Who wants to set their sons out amid the likes of young Jessica Cutlers? Yikes!

I think the operative concepts here are shame and pride. Throw in dignity (I always like that one). When all actions are possible, shame is inevitable. Did I REALLY do that? How embarrassing! Kids seem to have picked up the idea that shame is itself bad. Wrong. It's part of living, making mistakes, having regrets. It's okay. The flipside of shame is pride. The notion that some behavior is beneath you. That, under normal circumstances (sober, say) you wouldn't dream of doing it, and that TOO is a good thing.

In South Asian societies the worst thing you can say of a girl is that she is besharam, without shame. There's a lot wrong with South Asian attitudes towards women, but the concept is sound. Without shame all actions are acceptable. For now at least.

I've got daughters ages 16, 14, 12 and 10. My girls go to girls' religious schools and we don't have TV in the house. I've lived in Los Angeles for nearly 20 years and haven't heard of one sexual scandal. While being evaluated for accreditation, the official was amazed at my eldest's high school. Why? No locks on the lockers.

They are hardly living in burkas. We live in the middle of Los Angeles. We rent and buy videos and DVD that are carefully selected.

Result? My kids are still innocent enough to appreciate The Little Rascals, Bullwinkle and we even go bonkers over the Lord of the Ring. Kids can handle cartoon violence MUCH easier than they can handle sex.

The problem is culture's relentless desire to "push the envelope" and to be more titillating than the competitor to get attention.

What is NEVER mentioned is the regret, a decade into a great marriage, of having memories of ANY other lover, memories that fight with the desire of intimacy and exclusivity that make a marriage really special.

I'm a guy about your age. I wasn't always religiously observant. I went to public schools. When I hear about what's happening in college, high school and junior high school, the "little head" gives off a Howard Dean scream because there's no denying that some stuff just feels great, but to take this to an extreme, so would jumping off a building.

Sex isn't bad but premature sex makes you jaded. There is NO recovery of innocence. Thus... the real recipe for longterm sexual happiness is delay. Focus one's attention on finding the right mate as soon as possible. The pickings are best in the early 20's.

Note carefully that the parents of boys will be more inclined to the "why try to dam a raging hormonal river" argument.

That's psychobabble and rationalization. How about making the parents of boys 100% financially responsible for their son's progeny?

Oh... and I have two sons, too.

oh sweetie thats a sad subject
you know i remember being told i was the only virgin in my group of peers at age 14
years later i learned that many of my peers had lied about it to avoid the pressure
but i also remember the girls who put out in the 7th and 8th grade to be popular to be liked to be cool
and wound up being called sluts
but the 12 and 13 year old boys they put out for
it was so sad
and now
it seems even sadder
id been reading about the high school girls
who want to stay virgins
and dont want to get pregnant
so they offer anal sex
my god
anal sex at 14
its just too much
i wish i would tell these girls in the 8th and 9th grade how much this will dull their senses later
who much at 30 they will wish
they had some of that self esteem they threw away
i dont know what the right age is to begin sex
i know i started young
but ive got to think blow jobs in the 8th grade is too young
and to offer this so randomly
like your mouth is a toilet
too sad
too sad
and yes
the media
should shut the fuck
up
but then
have they ever?

Maybe we're seeing an equalization of the sexes here? It's always been the case that girls that put out are sluts and boys that get some are studs. Perhaps teh stigma against sexually active girls is fading and we're now seeing the results of that.

To put it insensitively - when I was fourteen I would have jumped at the chance to go down on a girl. All it required was the opportunity - there were no negatives for being a guy known to go down on girls. If the double standard is gone now then I can easily see why young teen girls are giving out blow jobs.

I was in junior high in the early 80s. If one of the (numerous) boys I "liked" had suggested I be a receptacle (because that's all these girls are; they're acting as live blow-up dolls) for his raging needs, I'd have smacked him and gone to the principal.

Now, I was in some ways a hopeless goody-goody, but letting young girls get the idea that giving b.j.'s is somehow a fulfilling and valuable role and an important part of their sexual maturation, makes me sick. What are they getting in return? Or isn't that important to them? They're letting themselves be objects.

And the worst thing, I think, is that the guys who get all this, um, attention, are going to grow up expecting it, and when they hit their 20s and the girls have wised up and started realizing that it's not that much fun to pleasure someone without getting a little yourselves, well, there's going to be problems.

not like there aren't already a TON of problems in male-female relationships.

Great post again, Michele, and I thoroughly know what you're wrestling with. I grew up during the "feminist" revolution, where it quickly turned from being about equal opportunity to the "the personal is the political" soul-destroying leftist chic that tried to tell women who wanted to marry and have kids that they were traitors and stepford wives who were unworthy of being even human beings.

And here, years later, the worst of this gender-feminism is evident not in sexual equality, but in females buying into the notion that the only genuine role is the male role. The genders are different. Period. And encouraging females to act just like their male peers and refusing to also educate these males to their own proper behavior is a recipe for disaster, both physical (the huge rise in STD's and cervical anamolies) and psychological.

I have four daughters...now 25 23 21 16. I spoke frankly with them as my mom did with me. I gave them facts and what I believed was the best course of action, and I kept/keep the lines of communication open.

Michele, IMHO you are on the right track with your daughter.

Ricki,

Is the problem that girls aren't getting anything out of these relationships, or something else entirely? Would it be "okay" if 14 year olds were giving each other blow jobs? Is reciprocity the issue?

Maybe part of the issue, not the whole thing. If I may, the big picture points to a detachment of individual acts from "sex," just as sex had earlier been detached from love and relationships. These are brief moments of almost clinical "servicing" by one partner on another. I was horny, you "helped me out." Friends with benefits.

Are we setting kids up, by looking the other way here, for a lifetime of loveless (but fulfilling!) sex, serial relationships, commitmentphobia on a vast scale? Probably.

Aaron,

I think it's great that you are protecting your kids. There's a lot to be said for just choking off the flow of garbage into their lives until they can think more clearly about how to sort it all out.

On the other hand, I think it's crap to suggest that later in life everyone regrets the earlier, pre-marital affairs of their youth. On the contrary. Had we not experimented, my husband and I would not appreciate what we now have.

The issue is not "pre-marital" sex, per se. It is timing. You are right to keep the porn out of your living room, wrong to suggest that fully formed young people can't live their own lives, make their own mistakes. For a generation or two, college was the magical place all of this took place. Now it's moved down to high school, middle school--who knows? Push it back up to college, anyway we can, and I think we can let the kids take it from there.

Does this really surprise anyone? Almost everything teenagers are exposed to nowadays is about sex. Booty videos, booty movies, booty games...

Music videos where grils are referred to as bitches and hos. Shaking their asses, rubbing them against the loins of the rapper du jour.

If we subscribe to the "village rasing the child" thing, our kids are screwed. Its the parents who are responsible for the dignity of their children.

Are hand or blow jobs sex? How Ashcroftian! I didn't think we were supposed to think that way any more--dangerous to "freedom" in the United States, don'ja'know.

Isn't that what we were all taught a few years ago? Hey, it's okay--it's not "really" sex, just a b.j.--done in private--nothing shameful--no big deal, for cryin' out loud! Stop nitpicking; grow up; get a lifeÖ That's what I recall being told whenever I expressed outrage over the high level b.j.s being spread all over the news.

We're not allowed to make judgments about sex any more. If we're not totally neutral--in some cases totally supportive of sexual lifestyles--we can be accused of hate speech. As a result, we get this:
http://www.norwichbulletin.com/news/stories/20040604/localnews/570191.html

"State police have confiscated two computer hard drives from the Griswold Middle School after the parent of a 12-year-old student found a picture of a man's erect penis in her daughter's back pack.

"Her daughter, a high honors student who has not been in trouble before, printed the black and white picture out on the printer in the middle school library after a man she had been instant messaging on the school computers sent it to her, along with his home phone number. [Ö]

"According to the seventh-grade girl who printed the picture, she and many of her friends have been using instant messaging at school to have sexually explicit chats with strangers since January. It is a trend, she said, among some of the popular students and those who would emulate them to gather around a computer while one person chats and the others look on. A child engaged in an explicit conversation gets positive attention.

"It started because my friends were doing it and I wanted to do what they were doing and it escalated from there," she said. "When I was on there, the other kids were like, who are you talking to. My friends and I had more to talk about."

Amen, Michele.

Maybe I'm just an auldephart, but am I the only one scratching my head and wondering just how commonplace this really is?

Well said, Michele. And "off the cuff" too! I wish my posts on the subject were as good.

You rule :) (or is that a hopelessly out of date saying these days?) (I'm an old fuddy duddy, I admit it)

Great post Michelle.
My feeling is that the feminist movement was so determined to sexually empower adult females, the movement forgot the importance of protecting children.

this is the reason I always said I didn't want a daughter. It scares me. It's hard enough raising 2 boys, hoping me and their dad are doing everything we can to instill respect for women and themselves... but having a daughter? oh lord, I hope I can do this..

Brainster asks how common all this is. Answer: very. At least the "friends with benefits" part of it. The good news is, my 18 year old college frosh niece (who confirms and, alas, practices the FWB stuff) swears she doesn't know anyone like Cutler, who documents (even creates spreadsheets on) her "conquests" in hoary detail. Yet.

CJ's right. How old were these kids when "It's not sex" was on the news?
5, 6, 7, 8, and we're surprised now?

STDs rampant, and we used to make fun of hillbillies doing it at young ages.

Brainster: you're not the only one who is skeptical about how commonplace this is.

Reports of its prevalence come from the same media and elites who obviously get a vicarious thrill talking about it, who boost ratings by turning reports on it into soft porn, who excuse the "leaders" and celebrities caught doing it, who claim it's inevitable and/or dismiss it as not really sex, and who rail against efforts to control it as being prudish, puritan, censorist, moralist, etc.

I don't live in the northeast corridor or on the Left coast. The consensus among parents in my area seems to be that it sure sounds terribly widespread elsewhere, but not here. That it surely occurs, but among a very small minority, not in any proportion to TheMedia's reports. And I don't think we have our heads in the sand.

I don't mean to dismiss concerns about it. What I would like is reliable stats, less gratuitous and despairing coverage, and more positive recognition of the millions of kids doing the right thing.

Kelli, 18 and at college is one thing; this is about kids in 8th and 9th grade. I didn't read the whole article (just the first page), but I suspect that there is very little discussion of where the parents are when their 13+14-year-old daughters are giving oral sex to friends.

Clyde, I agree, this article reads a little too much like cheerleading--if your kid isn't doing this, he/she must be a "loser". Note that they highlight a couple of websites where teenagers can find other people to hook up with. They talk about one high school boy getting sex from a college gal; borderline child molesting, in other words (I say borderline because they say the boy was a senior).

"For a generation or two, college was the magical place all of this took place. Now it's moved down to high school, middle school--who knows? Push it back up to college, anyway we can, and I think we can let the kids take it from there." -- posted by Kelli

Kelli, promiscuous behavior isn't just dangerous to kids, but to adults as well. Saying it's ok to be promiscuous as long as you're 18 is a bad message.

Advising kids to wait to have sex until marriage is a good idea, and I don't know why you are so opposed.

How is this for a comprimise:

I think Dr. Elders was on to something with the masturbation bit. It's a lot healthier for teens to masturbate or masturbate eachother than to have oral, anal or vaginal sex.

It's scary to me that most parents would rather their kids have pre-marital sex and postpone marriage until after finishing college than marry young. It's unreasonable to expect young men and women to wait until their mid-20s or early 30s to have sex. If they knew their parents and society would support their marriage and still help them get through college, then waiting would seem more attractive and realistic.

How about making the parents of boys 100% financially responsible for their son's progeny?

How about making them 0% responsible? Abortion is safe and legal. If the girl has a baby, it's because she wanted one or her parents forced her to have one.

Hey Chill

It takes two to make a baby. In California law, both BOTH parents are equally responsible for its care.

BTW abortion is not a tooth extraction, and people STILL die from the "safe and legal" ones, too.

If a male doesn't want a baby, then don't make one. Not engaging in sexual intercourse is 100% successful in not impregnating.

sheesh!

The lack of reciprocity is just part of it.

The biggest thing that grosses me out about the whole situation is that I was taught that sex - and yes, I consider any kind of genital stimulation designed to elicit pleasure sex - was the closest and deepest form of communication between two people (I was taught as "between a man and a woman" but I'm not going to say it that way lest someone call me homophobic)

What really frightens and saddens me here is sex has been reduced to a commodity, or a recreation - sort of like dancing, but not quite. It's losing a form of communication, or making it seem trite.

I'm not saying this very well, and it's hard for me to put my finger exactly on what I'm thinking, but there's something so cheap and tawdry and awful to think that for many men or women in the coming generations, their first sexual experience (and again, see my definition of sex, above) will be a furtive mouthing in a school stairwell.

That there's no romance, it's reduced to a purely physical act. It's sort of like, if they made Purina People Chow that was nutritionally complete but had no particular flavor, and people chose to subsist on that rather than cooking or going to restaurants for "real" food - it somehow removes some of the beauty and pleasure and makes sex seem even more "dirty" than it did before the sexual revolution (or so I surmise; I am too young to remember a time before the sexual revolution. Hell, I don't even remember the pre-AIDS era, at least in terms of my being old enough to contemplate sex).

In my mind, the sheer...pragmatism? of the teenager's attitudes makes sex seem like something to be "gotten over with" rather than anticipated and cherished.. But maybe I'm just an old prude.

Sometimes sex isnít about love, popularity or morality. Sometimes kids try it for the same reason they smoke cigarettes or try drugs. They want to see what itís like.

Curiosity is part of what it means to be human. Still, going too far is not a good thing and kids should always know why sexual experimentation can cause problems, but it helps to explain things in practical terms. Teenagers can be very pragmatic sometimes.

Michele,

Just thought you should know that the post you link to above (with "It was not an easy lesson to learn") has attracted some prOn spam at the bottom of the comments section. And given the nature of your discussion, I'm sure you don't want that.

Just bein' neighborly!

I've read other articles that express skepticism about the stories about the "sex beads" and the like among young teens. Not saying that it doesn't happen, but I'm hoping that it's far less prevalent than we hear.

And yes, I do think the media has a sort of twisted "Lolita"-esque fascination with teen sexuality.

I have a 4-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter. Both of them I worry about, but my daughter is the one who I really worry about. Your post makes much sense to me.

It takes two to make a baby. In California law, both BOTH parents are equally responsible for its care.

I was responding to someone who thought the boy's family should pay for everything. I don't care what the law is, since what's under discussion is what the law should be.

And yes, women still die during abortions -- but a higher percentage of women die during childbirth. And, of course, the chances of dying during a properly-supervised first-trimester abortion are virtually nonexistant.

If a male doesn't want a baby, then don't make one.

If the girl doesn't want a baby, she should keep her legs closed -- an equally true statement, yes? Both the boy and the girl are equally responsible for the girl's pregnancy. But the girl is 100% responsible for the decision to actually give birth. So it's hard to see why it is just to assign the boy 50% or more or the responsibility, when he's clearly far less than 50% responsible for the fact that there's a baby to feed.

Not engaging in sexual intercourse is 100% successful in not impregnating.

The same holds true for blowjobs and handjobs, and those are a lot more fun. Teenagers are horny because their bodies are supposed to be having sex. Giving them an outlet for that sexual need makes a lot more sense than insisting that people should pretend to have the bodies and hormones of five-year-olds until the night of their wedding.

I've suggested to my two teen daughters that the best response to "if you really loved me you would do this for me", is to say "if you really loved me you wouldn't ask me to do that".

Nice post Michele.

Dear Ricki:

"I'm not saying this very well,"

To the contrary, you said it very well. Thank you. That's how I see it, too. Promiscuity is wrong, not because sex is sinful but because sex is good, too good, sacred.

Giving a friend a blowjob is not having sex in the full meaning of the word. For most girls [...] it's just currying favor, which makes the giver a bit of whore.

If performing a sex act you don't particularly enjoy just because the person you're performing it on wants you to do it makes you "a bit of a whore", most of the married women in America are whores, and most of the rest are being cheated on by their husbands. Relationships of all kinds generally involve doing favors for the other people involved. There's nothing "whorish" about it.

A whore is a person who performs sex acts for money -- a description which, ironically, fits girls who refuse to have sex with a man until he marries them a lot more accurately than it fits girls who don't think sex is a big deal. After all, the former are demanding half the man's worldly possessions in exchange for sex; the latter don't expect anything.

Chill

Goodness, what twisted views of sex and relationships you have...with just a tad bit of misogyny mixed in to boot!

You know, taking a dump is natural too ... but we realize it is not in our best physical and psychological interests to do it whenever/wherever our body indicates it wants it to happen.

Early sex with multiple partners is demonstrably physically harmful to females. A 14/15/16 y/o girl's cervix is not physically capable of staying healthy in such a situation. My best friend through high school is a family practioner, and she is not the only one that has observed (and also looked into the literature) of the huge spike in abnormal pap smears in teenagers.

And just what issues are you dealing with that you think a girl who decides to marry before sex is only after a boy's "worldly possessions?" Guess you missed that a lot of girls earn the same or more than the boys, eh?

Or maybe, that's what sticks in your craw? Or are you behind in some child support?

"Not engaging in sexual intercourse is 100% successful in not impregnating."--Posted by Darleen

Tell that to Boris Becker. He had a broom closet BJ in some restaurant, and left. Later, he found out the young woman decided to perform a, ummm, "turkey-baster manouver" on herself.

The sad New York Times Magazine article had some odd moments: it said that gay youth are taking up the old rules of dating to a great degree, while heterosexuals are taking the Spring Break/Girls Gone Wild/Hedonism route.

But the story's headline is not too surprising to me, since the whole notion of "friends with benefits" isn't new. The terminology is an improvement on "fuck buddy", which has been around for a long time. I'm 33, and when I was a teenager there were a lot of teens who had sexual relationships without much in the way of formal dating happening. Hanging out unsupervied was an available option for most of us most of the time. My wife's mother was the kind of mother who tried to have her daughters' friends over, where at least one parent (she) was home. But most of us (including myself) had different lives. (We pattern our childrearing on her mother's model.)

I think that the prom was my only real "date": with formalities, set plans, dressing up, full parental knowledge, and all the other things that make "dating" and "courtship" rituals. Dating is dead. Formality in life is something that has passed us.

When you see the Oscars, do you think "Gee, they're all playing dress-up" or "Wow, they look so mature"? Does anyone under 50 join the Elks, Knights of Columbus, Shriners, or any of those groups anymore? I'm not playing holier than thou, since I'm not a member of any civic group (insert Groucho Marx quote here). And outside of big cities, there aren't many jobs that require a tie. Formality is dead.

By attempting to harken back to some golden age of dating and courtship, we are hypocrites with good intentions, but hypocrites nonetheless. We tell our children not to have sex, get drunk, use drugs, break laws, and to be respectful, but we know that our own parents told us the same things. I can only hope that I gave my daughter and will give my sons the guidance and information necessary to let them see what good and bad decisions are. But in the end, it's up to them.

"Men, it's 10 o'clock .. do you know where your sperm are?"

I do not think we are hypocrites when we try and set up guidelines of good behavior for our children, even if we didn't follow it completely ourselves when we were teens. We are doing what parents are supposed to do...actually parent. Teenagers, especially, need a structure, upon which to ponder, consider, accept and/or reject. To cast them adrift is to abbrogate our own responsibilities.

Life is a series of tradeoffs..and while I applaud the expansion of opportunities for women to pursue careers of their choosing, a whole culture that came up from stay-at-home mothers has passed largely away. Moms at home talked amongst themselves, disciplined whatever child might be running through the petunias, kept an eye out for strangers, organized block parties and bbq's, shared information on what was going in the neighborhood and school, helped organize fundraisers, volunteered, etc. Now we're lucky to show up at school's open house, attend soccer games and help with junior's homework while nuking dinner. Each cultural style has its pros and cons, but we can't pretend there has NOT been tradeoffs, and not always for the better.

Here's a good read on the subject of waning civil envolvement Bowling Alone.

A lot of teens engage in sex because they are bored and unsupervised. AND because a lot of parents would rather be friends THAN parents.

Goodness, what twisted views of sex and relationships you have...with just a tad bit of misogyny mixed in to boot!
You know, taking a dump is natural too

You accuse me of having "twisted views of sex", and then turn around and compare recreational sex to taking a dump. Yeah, ok.

And just what issues are you dealing with that you think a girl who decides to marry before sex is only after a boy's "worldly possessions?"

I didn't say "only". But she is demanding payment for sex, which makes her more of a "whore" than a girl who sucks off a male friend as a favor.

Of course, I don't think it's reasonable to call either person a whore. I'm just pointing out that if you're going to go around calling women who don't share your sexual attitudes, "whores", you should face up to the fact marriage has a very strong current of "trading sex for material security" in it.

Or maybe, that's what sticks in your craw? Or are you behind in some child support?

You have accused me of being misogynistic, jealous of women's supposed higher incomes (what?), and a deadbeat dad. This, because I don't like the "blame the boys" and "sexually active girls are whores" themes being discussed here.

We've established one thing, anyway -- you're unqualified to teach kids the right way to act. :)

Chill

I never used the word "whore" nor whined about girls having "all" the decision about babies when abortion is the "perfect" answer (so why should the boy pay?) nor have I blamed boys in any way. Indeed, I used the "equally responsible" phrase and you found that unacceptable, too. (IMO, tends to be a whiff of issues)

You seem to think merely being horny means that's because one has to have sex RIGHT NOW! Frankly, that makes you equating it to any other bodily function... Being hungry doesn't excuse gluttony, needing to evacute one's bowels doesn't excuse doing it in your neighbors petunias, and being horny doesn't excuse engaging in harmful behavior..all because it is "natural."

It is ironic in an age in which we the "new" morality seems exclusively on whether it is "healthy" or not (look at the out of proportion hysteria surrounding smoking), that it is taboo to even suggest that 13-15 y/o's shouldn't be swapping sex partners like old Penthouse forum fantasies.

Good lord, I sure as hell hope you don't work around children.

You know, you won't die if you don't have sex when you want to. And no, teenagers aren't "supposed" to have sex; if you feel that way about them, don't have children, please -- go into horse breeding or something.

I think sex has moved down to younger ages because the parents are afraid of giving the MDR of Vitamin "No" to their kids. Too busy being "friends" and not "parents". You get ONE chance to raise a kid. You're supposed to be raising a citizen who will be entrusted with trying to leave the planet better than he/she found it, not a puppy.

A little Biblical insight for those who are so inclined... the Bible commands us to love G-d and our neighbor. Strangely, there is no commandment to love one's parent. It's too complicated an emotion to make into a commandment, it seems. Fear and honor, yes, but "You shall love your mother and be best buddies with her"? Find it for me.

And some more Biblical insight that I doubt most of you ever noticed. Check out the description of Rebecca "a virgin who did not know a man". Isn't "virgin" and "not knowing a man" redundant? Nope... it's because the usual Canaanite lass would protect the marketable commodity of her virginity by performing other services.

What the text is referring to is that Rebecca was still innocent, not merely a virgin.

We're slouching back to pagan values, people, and we don't even know it.

Sorry... if you're under 18 and within a soda-straw's distance of someone else's genitalia, you've already and permanently lost the chance of retaining innocence.

Re experimentation? Sorry, I don't buy that practice makes for better spouses. There's something to be said about the variable of heightened pleasure expressed through exclusivity, sanctity and the willingness to explore with one's first, and hopefully only, mate.

The downward movement in age of sexual experience and the escalation of titillation thresholds (does anyone else remember porn-spam being considerably tamer 5-6 years ago than it is today?) is going to lead to breaking more taboos. Next up... pedophilia. The idea from the anti-religious, neo-pagan and left-leaning crowd (many may even be unaware, as most are unaware that university liberal arts departments are filled with doctrinaire Kant-spewing relativistic leftists who hate the very notions of "standards" and "values") is to render humans as nothing greater than an animal. Spirituality? Do cats have spirituality? "Get over it" the secularists say. When we've got Presidents who won't call sex sex and are wishy-washy about what is is, we've got a bad societal problem.

Were sexual mores circa 1980 really that Victorian? 1950? Ya know... my parents were married in 1962 and I bet they and their peers probably had a good time in the sack without ever having been exposed to the soul-killing values of supermarket tabloids and womens' magazine articles.

Steve H of Hog On Ice wrote a great piece called Skanks and the City:
Good Riddance

Sex and the City is gone, and millions of women with very poor taste in entertainment are moaning about the loss. Are they kidding?

I saw this show several times. To me, it appeared to be a show about a bunch of jaded, round-heeled New York skanks who thought the way to find love was to bang every man in Manhattan and stop when they landed, literally, on the right ones.

It's really sad, the way women fight over men these days. Thank the feminists. No man needs to get married any more. The feminists thought they were leveling the playing field by encouraging women to screw around, but the playing field can never be leveled, because men and women are different. The whole point of the game was to get women to drop their pants without commitment; when women started doing that as a matter of course, they didn't become equal to men. They surrendered to them.

It used to be that men had to be committed and persistent, and we had to at least appear that we cared about women. But women are competitive creatures, and when a few started buying the feminist message, a big portion of the rest panicked and decided they had to put out, too. Now it's like a contest to see who can drop her pants the fastest.

What happens? Women get passed around while they're young and more attractive than they will ever be again. If they're unlucky, they end up with babies or diseases or both, making it harder than ever for them to find mates. Even if they're fortunate, they age while they make the rounds, losing curb appeal every month. Men age too, but women like older men, so we don't care. We can marry at 60.

The result? Two generations of women, packed with bitter, used-up spinsters frantically scanning the horizon for men as desperate as they are. Women who actually buy semen. How crazy is that?

Sex and the City portrayed promiscuity as normal and healthy, and it is neither. It's wrong and dangerous. Human beings are not equipped by nature to be promiscuous. It damages a woman's self-esteem, and often her body as well. It draws men, sure. Men who want a sure thing and then a clean break. It's ironic that women put out in order to find husbands, because it's the best way to make sure you'll never date a man who wants to commit.

Women get the babies, the abortions, the contempt, and the bulk of the diseases. Men get quick service at a low price, and few people think ill of them for it.
Go read the rest of Skanks and the City. NOW! Steve's a font of wisdom and common sense under the rapier humor and passion for good food and beer.

Oh, and when you visit his site, go buy Steve's book "Eat What You Want and Die Like A Man - The World's Unhealthiest Cookbook". As a friend of Steve's for 24 years, I was privileged to be a proofreader. My wife has only recently forgiven me the sleep I deprived her from my howling and convulsing with laughter until 4am one night, as I was unable to put it down.

It costs less than 2 movie tickets and you'll get a lot more enjoyment (and some great recipes) out of it.

God chill out guys. Sex wasn't invented in 1995. Neither were blowjobs or handjobs, or sexual curiosity.

Most boys in high school have a hard enough time getting a date, much less getting casual blowjobs. It's funny watching everyone here froth at the mouth about all those 13-year-olds getting laid like it's no big deal. Doesn't anyone here remember what it was like to be 13 years old? Or even 16?

16? It was 1978 in New Jersey. Of the tame fooling around I did, for all but one of the girls (a Catholic girl I went out with for the next 3 years who I honestly thought of marrying) it wasn't worthwhile. I still think about her and am now grateful for her instinctive wisdom not to allow the relationship to progress farther, emotionally or physically.

Funny, we finished 9th and 10th in our class ranking (she was 9th). I met her the week before I got married. She was buying train tickets for her priest... to get married the day before me.

She's come to LA on business and we met and both reflected on how grateful we both were that things didn't get heavier as that would not have been good for our marriages.

We'd have made each other crazy and miserable and both are grateful that we didn't go further. In high school I could remember when my parents weren't home putting my father's speakers about a foot apart on the floor facing each other, lying down with my head between them and cranking up Springstein's "She's the One" to 11. About 7 years ago, she told me to get a hold of "Unanswered Prayers" by Garth Brooks (who, it turns out, was also a javelin thrower like me).
Just the other night a hometown football game My wife and I ran into my old high school flame
And as I introduced them the past came back to me
And I couldnít help but think of the way things used to be.

She was the one that Iíd wanted for all times
And each night Iíd spend prayiní that God would make her mine
And if heíd only grant me this wish I wished back then
Iíd never ask for anything again.

(chorus)
Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when youíre talkiní to the man upstairs
That just because he doesnít answer doesnít mean he donít care
Some of godís greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.

She wasnít quite the angel that I remembered in my dreams
And I could tell that time had changed me
Inn her eyes too it seemed
We tried to talk about the old days
There wasnít much we could recall
I guess the lord knows what heís doiní after all.

And as she walked away and I looked at my wife
And then and there I thankedd the good lord
For the gifts in my life.

chorus
Some of godís greatest gifts are all too often unanswered...
Some of godís greatest gifts are unanswered prayers

My ex-girlfriend was a smart woman and I'd fly across the country to punch her husband's lights out if he ever treated her wrong.

Getting back to the point... necking is a far cry from choking chickens where all the guy is thinking is "I can't BELIEVE I got her to do that!!!" There is NO WAY that that can be good for either party.

Ask a happy grandmother if she wishes she had given more hummers as a teen. I doubt it.

Yeah, now it makes more sense to me why you were so upset by that silly, gross Wonkette thing...

Agreed. But until we quit giving a "boys will be boys" pass to the male half of the equation, we'll still have this problem. I cannot believe that it is any better for a young male to give of himself so cheaply than it is for a young woman.

Floppin' that puppy out there for just anybody makes ya a slut. I don't care how much "evolution" and "quantity control" stuff ya sling.