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January 24th, 2008 (12:30 am)

current mood: thoughtful

"In a perfect world, no teenager would be having sex. We all know there isn't a 15-year-old alive who is ready emotionally, physically, spiritually, or financially to live with the consequences." -Nancy Keenan, NARAL president*

I find it very hard to decide whether I agree with that or not. I mean, okay, so I know that the statement as it reads is dumb - the statement that there "isn't a 15-year-old alive" who's ready for sex is ridiculous - but I'm thinking of it less on a literal level, and wondering more about generalities. Is it true that there is only a statistically negligible percentage of fifteen-year-olds who are ready for sex at fifteen? Can we make the blanket statement that teenagers should not have sex? Even if I concede the issue on ideological grounds, I'm not sure it has any contact with a reality in which teenagers' sex drives start to run amok when they hit fourteen or fifteen. But my question goes beyond that; I'm honestly not sure that I agree that teenagers are almost inevitably too immature for sex. I should figure out whether I do agree. It would be helpful knowledge in writing the Beth book.

Anyway, I posted it because if y'all want to discuss, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Comment away.

*Quote is a passing remark in this link, leading to a Slate article that I find interesting, thought-provoking, and somewhat shallow and poorly considered in its own approach to the subject. I feel that way about a whole lot of Slate articles.


Posted by: electric misfit love machine (eyelid)
Posted at: January 24th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)

telling them that it's 'all up to the individual' isn't hugely productive.

But it's the truth.

Posted by: Gemma (teacupdiaries)
Posted at: January 24th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)

It is, but government agencies don't want something so 'wishy-washy'; they always want one answer for everyone, and that's why so many sex education schemes/classes have fallen flat.

It doesn't help that there's a large 'prudish' movement growing in the US/UK, where any mention of sex is treated as obscene.

Posted by: electric misfit love machine (eyelid)
Posted at: January 24th, 2008 05:53 pm (UTC)

true. I think that the best course would be to just stress all the consequences, physical and emotional, and tell everyone that they should never be pressured in any way into sex. Leave out the judgment part re: who's ready and who isn't. If an adult tells teens that they aren't "ready" for sex teens are only going to ignore it anyway, figuring that they ARE ready.

Posted by: Gemma (teacupdiaries)
Posted at: January 24th, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC)

I agree.

What does being 'ready' mean to a teenager anyway? A lot of teens might feel ready, only not to be, and vice versa.

If you give them all the facts, at least you'll know they went in with their eyes open, which is all anyone can really hope for.

If they regret it? Well, that's just part of life, and is just as true for adults. You can't coddle your child forever.

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