Over the last handful of years sexuality in America has become a huge topic, mostly because teenagers appear to be expirmenting more than any of us did when we were teenagers. When I was a teenager (back in the 90s) nobody talked about sex, the closest to sex I ever saw was from watching Beverly Hills 90210 (feel free to laugh), watching Skinemax late at night when my parents went to sleep or the occasional rated R movie. There wasn’t much sex on television, particularly on Mtv (hell they still had mostly music back then I think) and on top of that it’s not something you talked about much with your friends.
I remember once hanging out with two girl friends of mine and somehow the topic of masturbation came up. They both talked about it as if it were disgusting and they never did it, so I went along with it so I didn’t seem like a freak. Looking back I assume at least one of them was lying if not both. Sex, other than losing one’s virginity, was never something we talked about.
I went off to college pretty much clueless and over 4 years I learned a LOT about sex (and most of the time not from even having sex, just by talking about it). I see teenagers now and they know more than I could have ever comprehended at their age. At the same time, they are still clueless and stupid, it’s part of being a teenager.
It seems to me that fearing teenage sexuality is not doing any of us any good. Pretending that teenagers do not have their own sexuality is a kind of denial that is not just ignorant but dangerous. When teenagers hit puberty their body starts to change and they start having feelings that are completely foreign to them. The best thing anyone can do is be honest with them about it, particularly parents but also the world around them.
I’m also not saying I think full on Skinemax-like scenes should involve teenagers, I believe sex scenes in tv shows should be for a reason and not just to portray sex. I’m not particularly a fan of teens like Miley Cyrus or Britney Spears acting slutty to sell records but that’s another story. There is a fine line between natural sexuality in the world and selling sex.
Why are we so afraid? How is being afraid of sex and trying to hide it from everyone doing any of us any good? If you are afraid of what your kids are learning on tv make it a point to know what they are watching and take time to talk to them about it. Hey, my parents never talked to me about sex and look how I ended up.