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Chris the Cop

As the father of two daughters: Amen and what he said

julia

You know, there's really nothing like the way the bonobos come out of the woodwork and start flinging whatever's lying around the floor of the cage at anyone who suggests that it might be best that people wait until they're more stable and relating to more stable people than most mid-teens before they do something that can drastically limit their future or kill them.

Then, of course, the "sex-friendly" progressives jump in to announce that it's wrong to be hostile towards sex, as though there were no other possible motivation for wanting, say, your own kid to [see above]. How they imagine we got the little dears to begin with eludes me completely (although I find it most amusing when the militantly "childfree" take this tack).

Karen

Well said, Lance; well said. I wish I had the power to go back to 1974 and start all over again. I was 15, and my boyfriend claimed he loved me. Uh, he didn't; he was just horny. In the wake of the end of that relationship, a combination of shame, confusion, desire for popularity (hollow laughter), and the ever-popular low self esteem led to my making a series of tragically stupid decisions over the next two years, decisions that have had a lasting effect on me.

I never wanted kids, but sometimes I wish I'd had them, so that I could try to instruct from my own experience. But I'm not sure that there's anything anyone could have said to me in 1974 that would have changed my mind. I think I would have had to have been a different person at the time to have acted differently, and that would have required a foundation that started in my infancy.

The progressives should be concentrating on the consequences of teenagers having sex; that's the part that really counts. Because, yeah--I got pregnant when I was 18.

bob

Twenty-seven years of fundies trying to put the genie back in the bottle has led to this mess. If I remember right, abstinence was what they taught in schools in the sixties. I THINK I was a freshman in 1966 and had the film where the bad girls put out and give you VD. Oh, yeah, we saw the same film in 1967. By which time I was no longer a virgin (male). In the seventies was when sex education became more realistic. Teen pregnancy rates declined. Most STDs were on the run until AIDS. Then came Reagan. The backlash against actual thought that leads to lessening of negative consequences. No, I don't have children. But I taught at a boarding school in my twenties, and BELIEVE me we really couldn't let the horny little bastards have sex. I understand the worry parents have, but face it, people have been having sex since before they were homo sapiens. Tell your kids the truth and get out of the way. It's their life to fuck up. And they will. And you can't stop it. The way my parents taught me (dad was a doctor and mom had a degree in biology) about sex was to present all the mechanics, try to clue me in on the emotional aspects and let me live my life. I didn't want children and was VERY conscientious about birth control. Somehow I managed to avoid STDs and other complications. So did most people. Yes, tragedies happen. They can happen to you. They can happen to your kids. But mostly they don't. Most people who use drugs don't od on heroin in the ladies room. Most people who smoke don't get lung cancer. Most people who drink as teenagers don't wake up naked on a stranger's floor. That doesn't usually happen until your twenties. Yes, you have concerns.Those concerns are valid. But why do I have to modify my (adult)behavior because you can't change the human nature of your own children?

May

Are you becoming a grandfather soon?

AZrider

Right on Bob.

Lance, I guess I understand your attitude, and suspect which blogger it's aimed at. But don't get over-parental here. Life is life, people make good and bad decisions. Who can go back and erase the bad ones? Give the kids the benefit of your advice, then let them run free.

breadbox

Lance: great post. Great.Post.

N.

Apostate

I thought you had only sons.

It's really kind of disturbing to see dads piping up about being the fathers of daughters. Why didn't birth control make this a non-issue?

Ah, because dads usually can't stand the thought of their teenage daughter needing birth control. Got it.

Teen sex is only emotionally and otherwise fraught with dangers because we make sex such a big deal. Usually, teen sex doesn't involve a lot of deep emotional and intimate bonds -- and it's probably good that it doesn't. At the end of the day, sex just isn't that significant of an activity. All one needs is good sex education to separate the pleasure from the potential pain.

Karen

teen sex doesn't involve a lot of deep emotional and intimate bonds

Whoever believes this has never been a teen-age girl.

Lance

Apostate,

I hope you don't think I'm raising my sons to think they can get away with anything they want to when it comes to sex and girls and that's there's no such things as consequences for their actions.

And you should know the fathers of the daughters involved before you try to read their minds.

Birth control only works when people use it! Guess what a lot of teenagers, even ones who "know better" don't often do.

And it's not because our society make too much out of sex. It's because human beings have hearts.

Lance

Bob,

So can I tell my kids it's ok if they shoot up now and then because most people who do it don't wind up junkies?

Ken Houghton

What Karen Said, though more generically.

And, amazingly, "birth control" remains a one-way street, with the party that will never get hemorrhoids and bloating and swellings or die in childbirth free to say "I thought you had a condom" or "Oh, well, it broke. Go get RU-486 like a good girl."

At the end of the day, sex just isn't that significant of an activity. All one needs is good sex education to separate the pleasure from the potential pain.

That day is not current, and the delusion of the last sentence speaks wonders.

bob

Lance, of course not. But the question is, why do I have to modify my adult behavior because your kids are human and it scares you?

Apostate

I hope you don't think I'm raising my sons to think they can get away with anything they want to when it comes to sex and girls and that's there's no such things as consequences for their actions.

Of course not. At the same time, though, all they really need to know is: consent, STI's and birth control -- if those three bases are covered, they're fine.

And you should know the fathers of the daughters involved before you try to read their minds.

The attitude is common enough that I don't need to read minds. Fathers talk possessively about their daughters' sexuality all too often. But I will clarify that it wasn't meant as a direct criticism of the person who brought up his daughters, and I apologize about the inference.

Birth control only works when people use it! Guess what a lot of teenagers, even ones who "know better" don't often do.

Exactly. Which is why better sex education and more openness about it will help. Even adult women get accidentally pregnant -- what are we to do? Stop having sex? There is the abortion option available as well, so pregnancy is not the end of the world, as it used to be.

And it's not because our society make too much out of sex. It's because human beings have hearts.

Sure. They also have purely animal sex drives -- and sex and love aren't always (or for me, even hardly ever) connected. And it's the purely hormonal part which is dominant when one is a teen -- I still remember being 14 with some terror.

I hope you won't tell me that the 1 billion in federal funding for abstinence only education, and the purity balls, and other fucked up shit in our culture around sex isn't a depressing fact.

Apostate

I should add one more thing your boys and all boys should NOT get away with: Not caring about their partner's pleasure. I hear that's going on in the teen circles (boys getting oral sex and not reciprocating), and that, yes, isn't right.

Ian Welsh

Love ya and all Lance, but y'know, what I notice about a lot of parents is that they seem to forget their own childhoods. Heck, forget parents, most adults do. By the time they're 30 they've forgotten what it was like to be 13 or 15 or even 18.

Drinking and screwing around is a bad idea. Was a bad idea when I was a kid back when dinosaurs roamed the land; bad idea now. But at the same time, parents acting as if it were something new is also tiring, as is the assumption that non-parents are somehow clueless. We were all teenagers, we all went through it. And as the last generation of free range kids not obsessively controlled by our parents, somehow we made it through. What I notice most about parents these days is the absolute lack of trust in their children; the absolute lack of belief that they can make their own decisions, and that if they screw up that they can often handle it themselves.

Sure they can't always; sure there are screwups that scar you for life.

But too many of the young fattened veal I see these days hit 18 and university and they've been so controlled and coddled that they have no idea how to act and accept responsibility for their actions or how to deal with unexpected circumstances.

Teach 'em well, give em guidance.

But also give them their head before they hit 18, while you still have some rein left.

Bob

Bob (the other Bob, not me) and Apostate: I suggest you read Lance's post again. It wasn't a rant saying no teen should ever have sex. It was a perfectly reasonable discussion of rather serious issues in which he pointed out that teen sex and alcohol consumption can often (he never said always) have serious unintended consequences. Nothing to get riled up over.

Lani

Usually, teen sex doesn't involve a lot of deep emotional and intimate bonds -- and it's probably good that it doesn't. At the end of the day, sex just isn't that significant of an activity. All one needs is good sex education to separate the pleasure from the potential pain.

False, false and false.

Sorry, but it's not all that easy to separate bodies from minds, or physical pleasure from emotions. You might find it easy--I'm in no position to contradict you about that. But most people, men and women, don't. And teens particularly don't.

Am I saying that sex is always about true luurrrve? No. I'm saying it's emotional. It can be comforting, hateful, spiteful, transcendent, intimate, frightening, or all of the above. Sex completely divorced from feeling is rare, if it ever occurs. And teens generally don't have the maturity to deal with the intersection of those feelings and sex.

I'm not an absolutist about this--hell, I lost my virginity as a teen--but as a general rule, yes, parents are right to be cautious about their teens having sex.

And yes, there's a power imbalance between men and women when it comes to sex. Part of this is cultural. Part of this is due to the fact that women can get pregnant, and are more vulnerable to rape. I would *hope* parents of teenage daughters are aware of these issues.

Does any of this excuse slut-shaming? Nope. But the issue is more complicated than "sex, yay!"

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