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Sunday, May 09, 2004

Somehow, Clinton will be blamed

Turns out, gnashing your teeth and bemoaning that kids experiment with oral sex as a replacement for sexual intercourse is not the best idea. Kids who know that what we not-quite-Dr. Phil-adults call "fooling around" actually are better at not getting pregnant.
I find this interesting, because if you watch Oprah, etc. you get the impression that kids who screw around and actually put mouth to genital area are fully depraved human beings and this may in fact be far worse than fumbling two minute sexual intercourse in the back seats of cars. I have never quite figured out why, other than unprovable theories regarding generational changes in attitudes towards oral sex. Even when I was young, it was well-known and accepted that "technical" virginity was widely practiced and it is, like it or not, a safer sex practice, particularly if it is practiced in a monogamous way, which it mostly was amongst my peers in high school. On top of that, it always seemed to me that people who spent alot of time experimenting with a variety of sexual behaviors before actually "going all the way" when they were young tend to have better attitudes about sex as adults. I don't have statistics or anything to back that up, just sort of ancedotal observations that people who learned young that there is a whole sexual world aside from penis-in-vagina are just more satisfied with their sex lives.
So, on the whole, even if it makes alot of adults uncomfortable, if teenagers have outlets for their considerable sexual energies like petting and oral sex, it's probably for the best. Less disease, less unwanted pregnancy, and a good chance that they will have a better time of it when they are adults. And if sex educators accept this fact and carefully teach that there are tons of ways to express yourself sexually outside of just plain ol' intercourse, then kids are likely to be smarter in their behavior.
One problem I do have with all this is that "oral sex" for teenagers still tends to be defined as fellatio, which in turn tends to be regarded as girls "servicing" boys. That helps nobody, as it makes boys spoiled and mean and girls stupid and self-effacing. Again, education is the key here. Kids need to be given space to talk about their feelings towards oral sex and other sexual behaviors and adults can remind them repeatedly that oral sex goes both ways and not just one.
Of course, there's no way in hell my take on this will be regarded as anything but beyond the pale in the debate over sex ed. I think that's a shame. Teenagers are not going to be ignorant or undesiring no matter what lies you tell them, so you might as well tell them the truth and give them half a chance in life.


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