Things like “there’s nothing wrong with paedophilia” and such.
A few of these well meaning individuals have asked me if I’m perhaps suggesting that it’s ok for adults to have sex with children.
So let me say right at the start that I do not think adults should be having any kind of sexual contact with children.
Although, I do think children should be having sex with each other.
Ok, maybe “should be” would better be replaced with “should be allowed to consensually” and “children” should be replaced with “children”.
You see friends this right here is my first problem with our current view of childhood sexuality: we think that everyone under 18 is a “child”.
Is it really a controversial statement to say that applying the same rules to 4 year olds and 14 year olds is incredibly stupid and would only be tolerated in a society that has serious emotional problems?
Well, yes I suppose it is. It’s still true though.
I mean 14 year olds are apparently old enough to be tried as adults when they commit crimes, so clearly we believe that they are old enough to have an understanding of the consequences of their actions.
On the other paw 14 year olds are not old enough to have consensual sex with consenting partners, consensually, because they are not old enough to have an understanding of the consequences of their actions.
What the fuck?
I’ll tell you what’s the fuck: fucking.
Teenagers will have sex. They have been having sex throughout history and they will continue to have sex for the foreseeable future. The median age for first coitus in Sub-Saharan Africa is 14. In the US the mean age is 16 (younger if you’ve been subjected to abstinence-only “education”). So clearly our understanding of teen sexuality is badly out of touch with what is really happening.
But try telling that to parents. Yeesh! The merest hint that little Jessica (14) is getting her freak on with a nice young lad (Jeremy, 13 and a half) who is just as squeakily in love with her as she is with him, and they start assembling a lynch mob.
But that’s nothing compared to the fire you attract when you point out that girls and boys frequently start masturbating before they reach 10.
See, it’s ok to know these things (most medical doctors and attentive parents do) but it’s not ok to talk about them.
Because in our society we have taboos around sex that are so thick they make tribal superstition look as unyielding as the tissues your son just whacked off into.
Sorry, I forgot myself there. I meant to say “the tissues into which your son has just whacked off”.
Must remember grammar, that’s also important.
So why am I taking so much time and energy to rub my readers’ noses in the less savoury part of childhood?
Because I give therapy to the victims of child abuse. I’ve seen, up close, what it can do to a person, and I want to do whatever I can to make sure it never happens again.
A faint hope of course.
The fact is that we have no idea why some people are sexually attracted to children or why others are attracted to the idea of physically or verbally torturing children (the three groups are different by the way). So the sad truth is that we are decades away from any truly appropriate, preventative response to these issues.
That makes me sad. But it’s not what makes me angry. What makes me angry is that we haven’t even started down that decades long path because we are so afraid of attacking the taboos around childhood sexuality that we can’t even do research on it.
It would take a very dour and serious academic to be able to say that they are interested in studying normative masturbatory behaviour in young girls without expecting a few looks of “wtf?!” to be thrown their way.
Some would of course say that this is normal because the safety of children is of such paramount importance in our society, so naturally it’s a sensitive issue.
Unfortunately, that’s bullshit.