I don't want to know anything about the sex lives of underage girls. This is completely reasonable.
I should amend that. I don't really want to know anything about anyone's sex life, but I especially don't want to know about the sex lives of underage girls.
I know that in this day and age we're all supposed to be enlightened and liberal and capable of talking about penis to vagina (or mouth/anus mucus membrane) friction like it was oranges or tablecloths. Coital conversation takes place at the dinner table of many an American home. There are some definite advantages to having sex so out in the open. It removes some of the guilt and negativity surrounding what should be a beautiful and intimate act. It allows parents to both keep track of what their children are doing and advise them on how to do it better (As in wear a condom, not as in "Okay son, now you really ought to tweak her nipples at the point of orgasm, your mother absolutely loves that") There are also negatives associated with openness about sex, as unpopular as they are to speak about. For one thing it encourages more sex (kids don't have sex because it's taboo, they have sex because the owners of penises and vaginae are tragically drawn to genitals of the other type, much like the lemmings are drawn to cliffs or golfers to plaid) which can be a very bad thing. Sex is beautiful and intimate and blah blah blah, but it's also one of those acts that can have serious consequences. There's pregnancy and HIV and emotional baggage and all that jazz. It's not something that should be taken lightly, and it all too often is.
So I'm a bit prudish. And I'm okay with that. I don't really want to know about my friends' sex lives, although I like to keep up on their relationships and such as anyone who cares about another person should. But as little as I want to know about my friends' sex lives (which basically boils down to whether they've had sex and if so were they responsible about it) I want to know even less about the sex lives of strangers. And as little as I want to know about the sex lives of strangers (which is pretty little already) I want to know even LESS about the sex lives of people under the age of 16.
Why specifically youngsters? Is it just conventional prudishness? Well that's part of it, to be sure. More importantly, though, the sexualization of adolescents has been a real harm to our society. We see them in movies and advertisements, tarted up and ready to rock. We see web pages devoted to countdowns to their 18th birthdays. We talk about ages of consent.
And it's wrong. It's wrong because adolescents are going through enough bullshit in their lives without being sexualized by adults. They're growing up, dealing with school and college, dating, puberty, changing minds, a whole lot of difficult crap. And adults are supposed to be there to serve as role models and supporters during these times. It's hard to act as a role model when you're trying to get into someone's pants or picture them naked. I'm not saying that I am a role model anyway, but I was thinking about becoming a teacher and I might have taught high school. I'd like to think that I'm someone who has some wisdom and perspective. More than a practical stance, though, it's a moral one. Admissions officers let young girls into colleges because they find them attractive. We've all heard about teachers who prey on teens. If more adults made an effort to avoid sexualizing teenagers I think society might be a better place. Calvin Klein sells underwear with 15 year old flesh. The Britney Spears sold gyrations along with bad vocals. It's exploitation.
Do I think that 14-16 year olds should be having sex? Probably not. I've known a good deal of people who had sex in their mid-teens and almost none of them think, in retrospect, that it was a great idea. It's hard to forecast what you'll think in retrospect, and I can appreciate that, but teenagers form temporary attachments that they think are REALLY deep and misread people and get hurt ALL the time. Throw sex in the mix and you've got a nasty cocktail. If teenagers are having sex, though, and they are and always will be, they should be doing it with people their own age and they should have the comfort of knowing that when those things go wrong there will be older people around to give impartial advice without trying to hit on them or look at them in lurid ways. I'm not saying I'm such a person, I know dick all about sex, but I think the principle is an important one. There needs to be a separation. Because the thing is that men remain attracted to sexually mature females long after the time when they would be appropriate sexual partners. We were all hot for 14 year old girls when we were 14, and while that does fade some it doesn't purge entirely. Maybe after you have a daughter that age it does, but I think it's different for each person. You have to make a conscious effort to remind yourself that just because someone has breasts and pubic hair doesn't mean they aren't a kid. Too many people take a prurient interest in people who they should be dealing with on an entirely other level. I'm 22 now and I can look back at shit I wrote when I was 19 and think it's utterly immature and naive. When I'm 25 I'm sure I'll think what I'm writing right now is rather unsophisticated (well I know it's unsophisticated right now because my head is clouded by illness and I'm not being overly clear, but you get the point.) When we're young we can't even anticipate everything we'll learn in the future. We don't understand the impact that raging hormones have on our thinking. When we're older we can remember what it was like and act accordingly.
Now you might accuse me of holding a double standard, because I can be sexually explicit in this journal and I'm asking other people not to be on the basis of some characteristic, discriminating on the basis of age. I'd answer that not all double standards are unreasonable. I fully support the rights of young people to express their sexuality but I'm not interested in hearing it. As for them reading about my sexuality, well isn't part of how we all learned about sex reading about it from older people? That to me is a different issue.
If you're under the age of 20 and you're having sex bully for you. I hope you don't come to regret it. Many do. I'm not your father or your older brother. I don't need to know about it and I'd rather not. It makes me feel icky. That should be enough.