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Myths About Adolescent Sexuality

November 22, 2013

Most people become physically capable of and psychologically curious about sex between the ages of 13 and 15. Most parents manage their children’s budding sexuality with some combination of enforced restraint and willful ignorance, and we, as a society, do not offer any more healthy ways to navigate the transition from pre-sexual child to sexually actualized adult.

There are two primary cultural myths that operate around this transition:

1) Adolescents are not emotionally/psychologically ready to have sex, even if they are physically ready to and have the desire.

2) Any sexual relationship between an adolescent and an older adult must be predatory in nature, and cannot possibly be loving, nurturing, empowering, or educational.

The thing about sex is that there is so much to learn about it. By making the transfer of sexual knowledge between generations taboo, we miss out on the opportunity for experience to be passed on. Each generation must make its own discoveries (and mistakes) by trial-and-error. This does not happen with any other area of knowledge, and the effects of it happening with our sexuality are profound.

What if young people only learned how to drive from other young people who also had very little driving experience? The roads would be a mess. Which is a fair metaphor for the state of human sexuality. We are deprived, confused, traumatized, and afraid. This is a natural result of greeting our sexuality with denial, ignorance, shame, guilt, and avoidance, and can only be overcome by instead welcoming, nurturing, celebrating, and embracing it.

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One Comment
  1. rodney permalink

    I agree with this, your blog, essentially in full. But I might emphasize that the lack of “hands on” interaction between the “older ones” who have experience, and the “younger ones” who don’t, is not the worst feature of the system. It’s all the other suff you mentioned. Guilt which thwarts the comfortable use of birth control is a large problem, especially the guilt among the girls. And the girls are taught to feel guilty about it for OTHER complex reasons, which you’ve dealt with in other of your blogs.

    Thanks for your blog.

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