The headline of this article is wildly misleading. When I first read it I thought oh my this is going to be some dreadful article supporting child pornography and/or pedophilia. It is not. What it is though is a common sense discussion about how we should handle child sexuality in today's society. It also discusses the relevant causes of our often conflicted attitudes about young people and there sexuality.
Alas though that headline could well keep many people from reading it at all and that would be a shame in my opinion. There are many good and valid points made in this article that I tend to agree with whole heartedly. Having been a parent to two now middle aged sons I do understand the desire to prevent them from becoming sexually active too soon and perhaps getting into trouble as a result.
However my own experience shocked me and made me painfully aware about how woefully inadequate our old moral concepts are in today's world. It was about 1982 as I recall and my oldest was just turning 12. To make a long story short my wife and I had a talk and decided that it was time for me to have "the talk" with our oldest.
Now mind you I had always considered myself pretty open minded and well informed about human sexuality. I had studied it out of curiosity as a child myself and by the time I was 13 I could explain in detail the entire reproductive systems of the human species from top to bottom. So I mentally reviewed my past studies and prepared to give a not too detailed lesson on sex to my son.
When the time came I said son we need to talk about sex. He laughed a little bit and looked me square in the eye and said what do you want to know dad? Well at first I thought he was just being a typical smart ass kid until he launched into descriptions of everything from B&D and S&M to scat and golden shower fetishes. I was flabbergasted. Where on earth did you come to know about that stuff I asked? Well dad he glibly said we have been watching porn at the Y(^();"T's house for a couple of years.
That is when I was made aware of the underbelly of this very Christian Midwestern city's upper middle class neighborhood. Turns out that my neighbor's 14 year old daughter was turning tricks at the mall for pocket money. Two doors down the couple who lived their had a two car garage that had been converted into a dungeon for bondage play. The porn videos were the property of another neighbor with three children. The son was my son's age and his playmate and his sisters were 4 and 6. When the parents went out the kids would round up their neighborhood pals and they would watch their parent's stash of porn videos.
Well at that point my planned discussion was pretty much out the window and I found myself trying to explain how and why people enjoyed that kind of activity not only to my 12 year old but his 8 year old brother as well. To be absolutely honest neither of them suffered for that experience and actually seemed to have a healthier and more tolerant attitude about other people and their sexual choices than most other kids their age.
Western society loves to try and control their populations through laws and regulations and for the most part they do serve a valuable purpose. However there are certain things that you simply cannot prevent altogether by making them illegal, sinful, or banning them under the threat of stiff penalties. Things like alcohol, gambling, drugs, prostitution and other things and activities like pornography have been (and some still are) illegal and banned in many Western societies.
All that ever did was to create an underground criminally supported black market for such activities or products. In short outright prohibition creates more problems than what is prohibited. Now when it comes to sexuality that is even more impossible to regulate simply because sexual urges are basic bodily functions that nature has hard wired us for from the moment of our birth. That is why prostitution for example has been labeled the oldest profession in the world. No one have ever successfully eradicated it anywhere.
So when we look realistically at our children and consider their development we are generally OK when they start to walk or talk and in fact celebrate it but when they reach puberty and want to start having sex we suddenly slam on the brakes and start screaming all manner of malarkey about shame and guilt and pregnancy and diseases and yadda yadda.
In short we panic because that is also how we were raised and it is the only way that we know to react. The problem is that sexually repressed children become sexually repressed adults who then repress their children in turn. It is a self perpetuating social mistake that needs to be put aside and replaced with a more understanding and educated approach.
Long ago I read an article about some Scandinavian country (alas I cannot remember which one) that took a very open attitude toward their children reaching sexual maturity (aka puberty). The parents of a young couple who decided that they were in love at say 13 or 14 years of age were allowed to take up residence together as though they were married in one or the other parent's homes. They were carefully taught how to prevent becoming pregnant and it was explained to them their responsibilities should they accidentally have a child.
Next they were expected to act like and live like a married couple with each having the same responsibilities that they would actually have in a marriage. When arguments or disagreements arose there host parents would step in and help them negotiate their way through it. They were responsible for their own meals, laundry, maintenance of their shared room and both had to continue to maintain good grades in school. They were given a weekly allowance from each parent and they had to work out a budget for buying food and what ever entertainment they enjoyed together.
The results were really impressive because after some study this approach resulted in a society with one of the lowest divorce rates in the civilized world. Also married couples were generally much happier in their marriage because they had actually practiced and been guided along the way by their very supportive parents. In short they finished the job of teaching and preparing their kids for the reality of life rather than just dumping them out there with no training, experience, or guidance and saying good luck as we do here in our society. LOL
So yes I agree with a lot that is expressed in this article and lament their choice of headline. More people might actually read it and learn something if it were less misleading.