Children Fucking Children

In light of the articles passing ’round about a school that’s giving contraception to twelve-year-olds (for instance and this post and this comment thread), I have to confess that I’m really surprised at the level of vehemence in the liberal blogosphere against twelve-year-olds having sex with other twelve-year-olds.

I don’t necessarily object to individual parents being worried about their individual children. They understand the context of their own individual child’s situation. What I object to are remarks indicating that, without context, it is universally true and observable that any twelve-year-old child is too young to be enjoying his or her sex organs with another twelve-year-old, and which ground the argument in that supposedly objective truth.

Personally, I didn’t fuck until I was legal, but let me be the first to confess that there was some prudery in that. It’s not like I wasn’t having orgasms; I was just having them in private. At the same age as I was when my fingers and I were having an exclusive relationship, my fiance started trading oral. He licked his first pussy in his early teens, but saved the PIV until he was twenty. Is he less implicated in the prevalent tut-tutting because he restricted his activities to tongue and hands, or is he to be condemned for the bad decision of starting to cuddle up with his best friend’s slightly older sister?

At twelve, I wasn’t dating. I resented the slow encroachment of sexuality on my sheltered little life. I have a memory of viewing girls who wore make-up as traitors. Heck, even when I was sixteen — at which point I had started dating — I carried a strong prudish streak like a chip on my shoulder. My twenty-seven year old brother brought home a woman his own age who he hadn’t been dating very long, and they slept together in his bedroom. A few weeks later on a shopping trip, I observed to my mother, “I don’t disapprove of premarital sex, but I think people should know each other longer before they do it.”

She gave me a pitying look and said, “When I was a bit older than you, I used to think sex was a natural out-growth of conversation…”

Back to junior high: my parents would rent R movies, often videos that I myself had picked out because I thought the plot summaries looked interesting. We’d settle down to watch them together. My parents would get interested, and I’d get annoyed. I wasn’t disturbed by the sexual content. I was fucking bored out of my skull watching Jennifer Aniston and male lead trade innuendos, and so after half an hour of mind-numbing tedium, I’d go into my room and read a book.

Sexually, I grew up slowly and out of step with my peers. When I was twelve, I clearly wasn’t ready for sex. So I didn’t do it. All the birth control opportunities in the world could never have changed my mind. As a matter of fact, I had as much opportunity as I needed: I’d been told that when I wanted to become sexually active, I was to inform the parents and be given birth control. My reaction to this was along the lines of, “Ugh, no thanks, I don’t plan to have sex in high school.”

Which was a resolution I kept to. It wasn’t until I got to college and decided I was done being self-righteously virginal that I started fucking.

I was chaste and judgmental, but certainly not morally superior to my happily-sucking and -fingering fiance. We grew up differently. Neither of us made bad decisions. We made the right decisions for ourselves. He was ready for phsyical intimacy with another person his own age, and I wasn’t.

Not every child has the benefit of making the right decision for himself or herself. As people have pointed out on these threads, the likelihood of young girls having their first sexual experiences after being coerced into sex by older men gets higher the younger thant the girls are. This is a tragedy. Other children make errors about what they want. Maybe they think they’re ready for sex when they aren’t and they end up doing something they regret. Some children undoubtedly pressure and exploit other children, and this is also a really big problem that stems from our culture’s fucked-uppedness about consent. But it’s exploitation or making the wrong decision that’s the problem. Clinging to virginity, or slipping early into sexual exploration, are not themselves the indicators of either a good or bad decision.

Two enthusiastic twelve year olds pressing together their sticky bits? Let me sum up the depths of my not caring. Help them be safe and let them make each other happy, and then do what I did when my parents were watching an R-rated movie: go read a book.

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136 Responses to Children Fucking Children

  1. 101
    Mandolin says:

    Sailor, you’re asking for way more moral absolutes than I’m ever going to give you. Context, context, context.

  2. Mandolin said:
    ~I disagree that sex is inherently dangerous because of emotional entanglement … blah blah. There’s just nothing that special about sex.~

    I was with you up until that point. I agree with Mythago–it’s great that you have a normal healthy attitude towards and with having sex. But that in itself is rare these days. I wish that everyone could be as healthy talking about it as you are. But they aren’t. But I don’t wish everyone felt like you do—Sex is very Special. Especially between the right people. There are emotions involved in sex, whether we want them to be or not. And the majority of 12 year olds cannot handle all of what’s involved at that age.

    I think the program is attempting to stop unwanted pregnancy. A noble attempt, sure. What folks should really be up in arms about is that the SCHOOL has to step in and take action, because the family is not. Parents should be doing this, but they haven’t so the school has to parent the child. Which puts too much responsibility unfairly onto educators. But hey, such is the society we live in. Want to change it? Be a mentor or have your own kids to ensure there will be some normal ppl left in the world.

    I agree with Jamila. 12 is too young to have sex. Period. In my world, it’s too young for petting, heavy or otherwise. My son is soooo going to hate me when he hits puberty (which will be too early, thanks to all the rBST hormones in our milk, chicken and beef, but that’s another post) because I will be ON HIM like white on rice–like my mother was on me. Sure, I got curious, but my Mom kept me on lockdown. And on the few times I escaped her watchful eye, 1. Neighbors told on me and 2. I got the whupping/beating of a lifetime, which kinda discourages you from skipping track practice to hang out with a boy. Never did it again after that. Yes, I did eventually do the do my senior year, with some undeserving twit of a penis–I know parents can’t be everywhere. But while she was playing Gestapo with me, I got LOTS of lectures–to the point where I’d ask for a whupping instead of the lecture so it would be over with–so I knew all about BC and didn’t get pregnant. However, I also knew it wasn’t for me, and didn’t have sex again until soph year of college.

    I really loved Ann’s post on the topic. Predators aside, I think too many of us of-age adults use sex as a weapon. Not even in the context of rape. I think sex for money between girlfriends/boyfriends, guys looking to be seen as cool, girls trying to achieve intimacy through intercourse, guys saying “I don’t want a relationship but I will fuck you”…knowing good and well once you do that, you know she will want one. I think it does take it’s toll on your emotions, if not your soul. But I guess that’s just me and Ann…I am a bit of a fantasist.

    Basically, the program is probably a good thing. It sucks though, that it has to exist. And Mandolin, I think you might be trivializing the situation just a wee bit. Sex, whether between same age-12 years olds or older folks and 12 years old is a big deal. Sex is a big deal. Probably too big for kids that young. But…

    Also, I don’t know what Jamila has done in the past, but wow. I’m almost scared to agree with her. I said almost. Call me guilty of the theory that if it worked for my mom and I came out decent, it works for me. You are NOT grown at 12 or 16 (in most cases) So yep, my body and actions belonged to and were controlled by my parents. Mostly mom, as she was the disciplinarian. You want something? Get a job and get it. Something that didn’t upset me as a teen, I concurred and went and got a job. I also got the “Until you can take care of yourself and a baby, NO SEX” speech. It seems just as reasonable to me now as it did then. I saw many girls in my high school destined to a life of food stamps–which was very humiliating to me because we had them too–because of having babies in junior high. It never occurred to us (me and mom) to use BC in school, because I understood that BC is never 100% effective. There are slipups. So the talks about BC were for when I went to college–which, BTW was another foregone conclusion kids didn’t argue in my household. In college, I’d be a bit more mature to handle any possible slipups than I would be in junior high or high school.
    I mean, honestly, I understand some folks come from the “Kids are people too” stance, but I think that standpoint sucks most of the time. Sure, every now and again you get a kid wise beyond their years. But for the most part, kids NEED parents to set the boundaries and the rules for them. And then they needs those rules enforced vigorously in whatever way works for that family. Kids may not always obey, but they do listen and take those lessons (when taught correctly–you know, in a loving respectful manner) to heart. We remember that stuff when out at 3am with some dude trying to get our panties off. Well I did.

  3. 103
    Mandolin says:

    Thanks for the response, Ms. Johnson.

    Personally, I see sex as just a part of life that doesn’t require all the specialness and ritual we’ve built up around it. Kids are kids, but I don’t think sex is such a heavy burden. It has a real mythos which creates mystery and shame, and I feel like the best way of destroying that mythos is just to have sex, and discover that it’s like any other human activity — weird, funny, pleasurable, heavy on the weird again.

    I mostly trust kids to set their own pace in regard to that kind of thing. Does this reflect how I was raised? Absolutely. I was trusted to set my own pace in almost everything from the time I was three on, and as a result — I did. I see the same phenomenon in a lot of kids from anti-authoritarian households. Where trust exists, kids meet it. And where that doesn’t happen, there’s hopefully a flexible enough model to rein them in.

    I can’t tell you how many disasters I saw growing up were caused by a mythos around sex, caused by its mystification and demarkation as something Special and Dangerous. Lots of my female friends who were raised in a vacuum about sexual information were raped as a consequence. Others were more easily controlled by abusive boyfriends who wanted to get them pregnant. The children I was raised around whose parents were open about sex, and had an “eh” feeling about it, mostly we waited. Sometimes we didn’t. We were less likely to end up in trouble that could be compounded by ignorance.

    There are healthy atmospheres for sexual experimentation and unhealthy ones. There are people who react well and people who don’t.

    That’s where I’m saying that I trust most parents to know when *their* kids *aren’t* ready for sex. Kids in general? Are just an enormous population. There are so many different environments and potentials and contexts.

    There are also parents who I don’t trust to know jackshit. Thene’s experience growing up is, unfortunately, not rare.

  4. 104
    Original Lee says:

    Mythago, my comments are based on my experiences in the community I grew up in. Many parents considered their children extensions of themselves, and the fathers especially considered their children like property. I have heard many otherwise rational adults voice surprise that their children would: 1) even dream about having sex (because they haven’t told them about it); 2) do anything they wouldn’t hear about (because they’d punish them twice as bad if they found out from somebody else); and 3) ever be in danger of any kind from anybody else (because everybody is just like them, and they’re a terrific person). There were also parents who were scarily self-centered and turned their kids loose to finish raising themselves when they were 10 or so, and far be it for them to think about other people’s children, let alone their own. One egregious example: One classmate was raped by her stepfather on a regular basis from the age of 11 so that her mother would have babies in the house to fuss over, and until people knew that the stepfather was the father of her children, many people were praising her mother for not kicking her out of the house and being willing to raise her grandbabies. So I’m not making this cohort up. I regret that I don’t have the time to write as coherently as I would like to, because I really think I’m not expressing my point at all well, so I’m just going to have stop posting for a while.

    Ms. Tatisha Jackson and KateL have made a number of statements with which I heartily concur. I just want to make it clear (if I haven’t already) that I am not pro-kid-sex.

  5. 105
    Sailorman says:

    # Mandolin Writes:
    October 25th, 2007 at 9:17 am

    Sailor, you’re asking for way more moral absolutes than I’m ever going to give you. Context, context, context.

    ??? I just reread my post, and I’m confused about your reply.

    Two of those questions (#2 and #3) are completely factual in nature.

    Two of them (#1 and #5) were intended to be primarily factual though they have a moral component (the “harm” in #5 was intended to refer to emotional harm to the child in question, not some sort of amorphous untraceable ‘societal harm’ which may or may not result from kidsex.)

    Only one (#4) is really a moral question.

    And for all five questions, I thought I made it clear that i’m talking about 12 year olds having consensual sex–you know, the topic of your post. And I think you and everyone else here have plenty of context in the previous 104 posts to know what I mean. Don’t you?

  6. 106
    curiousgyrl says:

    Sailorman;

    I think you’ve correctly characterized my position on points one and two, and I’m about 70% on point three. I think its good for parents to have rules that attempt to keep thier kids out of situations said kid cant handle–like parents can say no dating, no sleepovers no whatever. But sometimes those rules don’t/won’t work, and when that is the case, the emphasis should be on protecting the kid and helping them, not on denial and punishment. I don’t agree with number four and have never said anything close to that. I think parents should say “I think you are too young to have sex” if they think so, and why they think that.

    As far as number 5, I agree that sex can–and is even likely to be–harmful to young kids. Much of that harm, however can be prevented by support that includes direct discussion and access to birth control, despite the fact that doing so is uncomfortable, complicated and difficult for parents . I also believe supportive parents can meliorate the remaining harm, should it occur.

  7. 107
    Mandolin says:

    No, Sailorman, obviously I don’t. I mean that my answers to your questions would be context-dependent, not abstracted.

  8. 108
    Jamila Akil says:

    Thene Writes:

    Excepting the four months I spent living in the USA, I have never had to worry about an emergency abortion fund. (And even then, I could’ve come straight back home if I’d had to.) It’s always been there for free. Does that mean teenage-me was more ready for sex than a US teenager?

    If your abortion would have been funded as a part of UHC then it wasn’t exactly free. It was free at the point of service, but that is only because you and others pre-paid for it in the form of taxes.

    A teenager in America who depends on their parents who to pay for their abortion is no more mature than a teenager in another country who depends on a UHC to fund their abortion; both teens are ultimately dependent on someone or something other than themselves.

    People in countries with UHC have just decided to collectively bear financial responsibility for each other’s mistakes, whereas in America you are moreso expected to bear a more direct responsibility for your choices.

    I don’t think the question of “are people with UHC who agree to collectively pay for abortions more mature than the people without UHC who have to directly pay for their own abortions?” can be answered.

    And if it doesn’t mean that, why are you mentioning the cost of abortion at all?

    I’m speaking from the perspective of someone living in a non-UHC country, where people are expected to pay for their own abortions, rather than paying taxes so that the procedures can be collectively funded.

    That cost is an artificial barrier, one that the young citizens of most developed nations don’t have to worry about. It can’t be used as a reason to delay sex, because it’s not intrinsic to the situation.

    All barriers are artifical if there is someone out there who can remove it for you. My barrier to wealth is artificial, if Oprah would only give me a million dollars. My barrier to a college degree is articial, if the university I attend would just grant me an honorary degree.

    There will always be barriers of some sort to anything that we want, so I don’t see how a difference between “artifical” and “real” barriers bears any significance. Are real barriers only physical barriers, such as a young girls body being too immature to bear a child or a male being too young to make live sperm?

    It all depends on how much responsibility for each others lives the people in a given country are willing to collectively bear.

    I find universal health care as a whole morally necessary, and if I don’t agree with some of what it does, I’ll argue that one out with my political representatives rather than deny ALL health care to other people.

    I oppose UHC because I don’t find it to be morally necessary and instead I think that a free-market health care system is far more moral than any UHC. But this is a whole nother topic…….

  9. 109
    Thene says:

    Jamila, I feel like you’re dancing around my point. If you’re “speaking from the perspective of someone living in a non-UHC country” I hope you at least realise that your words become nonsense in the ears of someone from a UHC country (and most developed countries have UHC of some sort). You also seem confused about the meaning of ‘non-UHC’ as applied to the USA; Americans put huge amounts of tax money into Medicare, Medicaid and other collectively funded healthcare. Collective funding occurs in both systems. The difference isn’t the tax funding, which occurs at a similar level in both systems, it’s the ‘free at the point of use’ part. And if my abortion is free at the point of use, your assertion that I shouldn’t have sex until I can afford to buy an abortion is nonsense, and would have no effect on teenage-me’s behaviour. So why shouldn’t teenage-me have sex? When does it become okay for me to have sex, if money is not a barrier?

  10. 110
    Mandolin says:

    Again, can we wander gently away from tax/UHC?

    I don’t mind if Jamila answers Thene’s question, but I don’t want any more declarations of free market sensibility, etc.

  11. 111
    Jamila Akil says:

    Mandolin Writes:

    October 26th, 2007 at 8:54 am
    Jamila, I already said once — no more tax/UHC on this thread.

    I missed the post where you said that.

    Don’t worry, this is my last post.

  12. 112
    Sailorman says:

    Time to raise this thread from the dead.

    First, a caveat: I am most certainly not not not trying to attribute the below issues to anyone who commented above.

    New question., brought to mind by this revolting situation: http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2007/10/31/woman-recieves-no-punishment-for-nonconsensually-piercing-her-13-year-old-daughter%e2%80%99s-genitals

    I’m wondering if a general sense that 12 year olds are “ready” for sex or that it’s “OK” for them to have sex would have a negative impact on the ability to convict folks for statutory rape. I get a gut feeling that it would.

    Why? Well, there are two ways to look at it. One way is to define kidsex as “kidsex”, i.e. something that’s different from “real” sex.

    But if you define kidsex as merely a certain type of “real” sex, then you’re saying it’s OK, generally speaking, for kids to be having sex. Which makes it harder IMO to convince people that kids (who are often the target of rape, esp. acquaintance and interfamily rape) weren’t acting consensually.

    If kids are “nonsexual” then they don’t (can’t) consent. If kids are sexual beings–getting condoms, on birth control, making sex their own choice–then obviously they can consent in theory. The question then becomes WHO they consent with, as opposed to whether they can consent at all. And “they didn’t consent because it’s the wrong age of sex partner” is much more difficult to sell than “12 year olds do not consent to sex.”

    It’s almost like spin. Because laws and this sort of thing affect juries, like it or not. Is it worth discussing as a cost?

    Again, let me make it crystal clear that I do not attribute this goal to anyone here, including those folks who supported kidsex above. But it is more than a side note I think, and worth considering.

  13. 113
    Myca says:

    I see where you’re coming from, and I don’t think it’s a crazy or unreasonable concern, but I think that in the end, it’s a wash.

    After all, if it’s never okay for kids to be having sex, no matter who it’s with, then that just lends credence to (to use the mother’s argument from the other thread) the whole, “She’s out of control! I had to do something!”

    “But . . . she was being raped by your boyfriend.”
    “Yeah! AND she was having sex with a kid her age! Out of control, I tell you!”

    For me, I think of this the same way I think about rape. Saying that it’s okay for women to have sex with whoever they like whenever they like shouldn’t weaken protections against rape . . . because it’s about consent and power and abuse. Same thing here.

    —Myca

  14. 114
    Sailorman says:

    Saying that it’s okay for women to have sex with whoever they like whenever they like shouldn’t weaken protections against rape . . . because it’s about consent and power and abuse. Same thing here.

    —Myca

    I don’t know about that. Oh, I agree with you that it shouldn’t happen, but sometimes–and especially when it comes to protecting children–I’m more in the camp of “face reality, and work with it.”

    And reality is that societal attitudes have a lot to do, IMO, with how people approach these things.

    Take the “women are free to sleep around” thing. Clearly women ARE free to sleep with whoever they want. Women SHOULD BE free to sleep with whomever they want, at any time–or not.

    But the “she was a slut anyway and asked for it” defense was actually a horrifically effective defense, because of the way people think. And to the degree people buy into the “an average women is perfectly likely to be trolling bars for hotties, just like an average man” belief, I think they’re more likely to believe the rape defense of “it was consensual.”

    For adult women, it’s totally not my call; they’re adults, and I (hope) made it clear that I think they are free to do whatever they want, and it’s really not my business. I’m just using your example to illustrate the kid issue a bit better.

  15. 115
    Myca says:

    Right, and I see what you mean, I’m just saying that the folks who want to justify victim blaming will find a way to justify victim blaming . . . because it’s not about anything but blaming the victim.

  16. 116
    Sailorman says:

    I don’t think we disagree, really.

    It’s actually a fascinating subject, and I”m trying (semi successfully) to write a post on it that’s not 10 pages long. I think of it as the

    “Should we take account of people’s really shitty behavior when we make decisions, and if so, how much?”

    question.

  17. 117
    Ari Rabkin says:

    I wanted to followup on the consent thing, since I think it’s explosive.

    Talking about children sexing each other brings out something that’s bugged me for a while. As a society, we’re happy to put adults who have non-overtly-coerced sex with teenagers away for long prison sentences. We label them sex offenders, and generally wreck their lives. We do this because we think the younger parties can’t meaningfully consent and because we think that even if the younger party believes they have consented, they haven’t.
    If twelve year olds can’t ever consent to sex, then twelve-y-olds doing eachother is rape. Maybe not prosecutable because of age, but still rape. If they can sometimes consent, that offers a very powerful defense for conduct we don’t want to make defensible.

    I think you get into enough logical tangles once you start down that path that we as a society prefer to make that sort of thing unthinkable — or at least, we as individuals often try not to think about it. I suspect that’s part of the horror that the topic induces in many discussants.

  18. 118
    Mandolin says:

    “We label them sex offenders, and generally wreck their lives.”

    No rape apology in the thread. Thanks.

    The difference between the two scenarios is ‘power.’ I’m not going to be super patient on the issue of “oh, teh poor adults who sex up 12 yr olds, how we ruin their lives,” so you might want to go into lurker mode if this still isn’t making sense. I’d rather not derail.

  19. 119
    Kata says:

    “We label them sex offenders, and generally wreck their lives.”

    No rape apology in the thread. Thanks.

    I hope that isn’t rape apology. I consider a person going to jail both a wrecked life (if even only for the time involved) and a just punishment. If he’s going to wreak my life with rape, label him a sex offender and wreak his life, please.

    I think the point Ari was making is that the basis of statutory rape is that a 12 year old can never consent. If at any point, including in this situation, we say that a 12 year old can consent to sex, we might need to be concerned whether it will make the statutory rape legal definition blurry. Power is certainly an issue, but I’ve yet to see a statute that specifically talks about the definition of power rather than the definition of consent.

    I suspect this is a valid concern. New York may provide a good example regarding this issue. In New York, the age of consent is 17, but there is an exception:

    “It shall be an affirmative defense to the crime of rape in the second degree as defined in subdivision one of this section that the defendant was less than four years older than the victim at the time of the act.” (see link)

    In this case, it looks like a state has defined when a minor may or may not consent to sex, without gumming up statutory rape definitions.

    (And regarding the original post, I still think that BC to twelve year olds without specific parental consent is way too tricky. Depending on the BC used, it needs to be taken responsibly every day, and I doubt the clinic would be able to oversee the child’s use of the medication every day. I can’t imagine responsibly prescribing anything but an injection or an implant to someone that young.)

  20. 120
    Ari Rabkin says:

    No rape apology in the thread. Thanks.

    I suspect that rape apology is a term of art around here; just to clarify my views:

    We as a society are very punitive towards convicted sex offenders, above all those whose crimes involved children. I believe we’re much tougher on them than any other western democracy. We sentence them to very long prison terms, and significant deprive them of civil rights afterwards. Those are simply statements of fact, without moral judgment. They don’t necessarily imply that we have a more just society in general, or even an adequate determination to supress sex crimes.

    Most of this toughness is because of tough-on-crime posturing by politicians: virtually nobody is willing to defend adults who have sex with children, no matter how harsh the penalty assigned to them, so they’re an easy class of offenders to beat up on.

    I mention these facts not to apologize for rape, or to argue that our laws are fine as written, but rather as evidence for what society’s view of sex with children is. The extravagant penalties and oppobium we dispense demonstrates that our society’s consensus view is that sex with children is never justified or excused. We treat it as settled that children under 16,17,or 18 [depending on jurisdiction] cannot consent.

    Saying “12 year olds can sometimes consent” undermines that consensus and it’s therefore sufficiently spooky that people don’t want to consider the possibility. The issue, to be clear, is that this would philosophically undermine our notions of statutory rape, not that it would immediately undermine it in court.

  21. 121
    mythago says:

    We treat it as settled that children under 16,17,or 18 [depending on jurisdiction] cannot consent.

    The laws are actually much more complicated than that. Depending on your state, children under 13 are treated differently than children 13-17, and offenders who are closer to the victim’s age are also treated more leniently (in some cases, not as criminals at all).

    After all, if it’s never okay for kids to be having sex, no matter who it’s with, then that just lends credence to (to use the mother’s argument from the other thread) the whole, “She’s out of control! I had to do something!”

    No, it really doesn’t. The point of the other thread is not that the mother had a justifiable concern about her child’s sexual activity; it’s that the mother reacted by sexually mutilating her daughter, and apparently ignoring the fact that her own boyfriend was raping her child.

    Would you claim, Myca, that a person who said “Toddlers shouldn’t pick up and eat bugs off the sidewalk” is ‘lending credence’ to a mother who tried to control her toddler’s stuff-everything-in-my-mouth habits by sewing the child’s lips shut? Especially if the mother’s boyfriend were feeding the kid beer?

  22. 122
    Mandolin says:

    Okay, Ari. You’re being very snide in your response. I’m going to assume that you understand that I am the author of this post. If you don’t, please understand it now.

    I’m asking you not to post in this thread again until you’ve been hanging around a bit more, and are a little more familiar with the terminology and dynamics. Thanks in advance.

  23. 123
    Sailorman says:

    As I see it, the concept of “kid shouldn’t have sex because they cannot consent to sex “goes more to the conclusion of “… therefore this was even more clearly rape,” and not at all to the conclusion of “…therefore her batshit crazy mother should have performed her own brand of FGM.”

    Because I think it’s an important perspective, and because I think we always need to consider the collateral effects as well as the direct effects of changes, I’m thinking about it like this:

    Say the rape case happened in this Maine town discussed in this very thread. Say the jurors on that case read the article linked above. Say the victim in the rape/fgm case was at that same school.

    Would the jurors be less likely to convict the rapist? Would they be more likely to see the girl as sexually receptive, even to a much older man?

    I think they would.

    Now, this doesn’t mean that the conclusion should be “…therefore we should not give birth control to 12 year olds.” In my opinion, the cost/benefit ratio is still in favor of BC.

    It’s more of a reminder that we need to consider and prepare to deal with the collateral damage that may happen even from things which are overall a GOOD idea. Maybe giving BC and teaching sex ed will mean that we simultaneously need to be even more careful than before of whether or not young children are pressuring each other into sex, for example. Or that we need to focus more on potential juror bias.

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  25. 124
    john says:

    parents should teach kids practically how to have safe sex

  26. 125
    FGW says:

    “I agree that sex is potentially dangerous in terms of disease and pregnancy. These things can be addressed.

    I disagree that sex is inherently dangerous because of emotional entanglement … blah blah. There’s just nothing that special about sex.”

    I completely agree. The only reasons why sex might damage kids emotionally is caused by the taboos and stigmas that society places on it. Without these taboos and stigmas, sex would be nothing more than an enjoyable thing to do that could also potentially
    cause disease and pregnancy.

    OR it could damage kids because of their emotional entanglements with that person. But it is not the act of sex itself that causes this, it is the relationship with the person.

    Let’s say two 12 yr olds are dating. They don’t go past holding hands and kissing on the cheek, but they break up, leaving one 12 year old in an emotional entanglement.

    Yes, sex can cause emotional entanglements but it is not the act itself that does this, it is the situation. A relationship gone bad could just as easily cause an emotional entanglement, but does that mean we should not allow 12 year olds to date? Or have friendships? Because those can cause emotional entanglements as well. Does that make these things morally wrong? Should we not approve of kids engaging in these activities because they could potentially cause someone to get hurt? Of course not!

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  28. 126
    franklyoddgirl says:

    Here’s an idea, people:

    No sex until you can understand the consequences, for better and for worse, of doing so.

    Some 12-year-olds can. Some can’t. Some 30-year-olds still can’t. I love my father, but his ‘love-’em-then-leave-’em’ behavior before and after I was born is still pretty common in the American black community, where a strict, repressive upbringing is often the norm. Men become ‘players’ as a way of avoiding all that pesky emotional entanglement that some in this thread are positively afraid of preteens learning to negotiate — their parents usually forbade any discussion of sex, owing to a lot of religious shame.

    So where do they go to learn about it? Where does any kid whose parents never talked to him about sex go for information? Their friends, who are often just as uneducated about sex as they are. This is where fatuous ideas like ‘You can’t get a girl pregnant if you have sex standing up’ come from.

    Then the consequences of their actions and this avoidance later bite them in the ass: wage-garnishment for child support; having to deal on a frequent basis with women they no longer care much for because they were ignorant enough not to use condoms.

    Women in this situation have it pretty bad as well: not enough knowledge about their own bodies to say no when they don’t want to, or knowledge about alternatives to pregnancy to avoid producing children they aren’t mature enough to care for, as well as STDs and other problems.

    How is all this avoided? By making kids aware of the consequences of sexual behavior, good and bad, as soon as they hit puberty. Tell them that it can be fun. Tell them that it’s one small aspect of self-knowledge. Tell them also that it’s not paranoid to ask their partners to be tested for STDs before they engage in any sexual activity. Tell them about the financial and emotional costs of raising children. Balance is essential — too many sex-ed programs in this country focus entirely on the negative costs of sex.

    Twelve years of age is about the right time to make condoms available, as well as information about the pill (not so sure about actually distributing the pill to middle-schoolers, though. I don’t think young bodies need to have their stabilizing hormones screwed with. Just tell them to ask their family doctor for more information). Kids need to know what those funny feelings are, and how to deal with them, from people who can give them accurate information. To those fearful of letting children experience ‘emotional entanglement’? Friendships, and the loss of friends, also provide some practice in dealing with this.

    Trying to keep children sexually ignorant for as long as possible doesn’t produce mature adults. It makes crippled adults who have trouble making informed decisions.

  29. 127
    Nicole Finn says:

    Sex is definitely not for the twelve year olds, but sex education is.

    It is the time when children start exploring thier bodies and get curious about each and every change that takes place. It is the time they should be given proper knowledge, both at school and home. Of course, I do not say that they should not experiment. They are free to experiment on thier own organs and learn in the process. But I don’t think that the 12 year olds will be able to handle contraceptives and STDs properly only with peer information, wihout formal knowledge. But if you can keep yourself only to oral or fingers and nothing more, then it will serve all purposes- learning, experimenting and pleasure.

    And finally, you can make condoms available to 12 year olds, but will his little organ fit in?

  30. 128
    Bonnie M. S. says:

    And finally, you can make condoms available to 12 year olds, but will his little organ fit in?

    OK, cut the crap.

    One of my male cousins at 12 years old was 6′ 2″. Another male cousin was 5′ 10″ at that age.

    Hell, I was 5′ 8″ when I was 14. And I’m female.

    Not all children mature physically at the same rate.

    Not all genetics are the same.

  31. 129
    MustangSally says:

    I guess I experienced, and was a witness to too many coercive situations at a young age. It’s not that I don’t trust kids to take precautions. I just don’t trust them to do so in a non-coercive, emotionally, respectful manner. Peer pressure is just too big of an influence at that age.

  32. 130
    Zach Burnfeild says:

    I having been a twelve year old previously, think it is ok for people over the age of twelve to have sex if they are taking measures to keep safe. I also believe that many children are embarrassed about sex and their body. This is the reason they don’t confront their parents at an early age, but think back to when you were twelve and what you thought about sex and confronting your parents about it. Now think about you today and if you had the chance would you have talked to them about it sooner. I think that school clinics should be made available to all students and that parents need not be directly informed about their child’s usage of “The Pill” or condoms. If the parent were to ask the nurse or principal in person I believe it would be good to keep those things on record.

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  34. 131
    anon says:

    A twelve year old whose interested in intercourse isn’t going to confront an adult about it. They’ll tell their peers or their siblings after they’ve done it and that’s that. That is my first point, if a twelve year old’s going to have sex, in most cases you won’t know until after it’s happened.

    number one a human is an animal and all animals have two basic instincts: Eating and Reproducing. Your reproduce through sex and animals don’t take the time and get married and start talking about families, they just feel sexual desires and fuck for the delight of it. Humans are the same except many of us contain some restraint and we have condoms and the pill so we can do it without having kids. It is natural for when someone becomes able to have sex, to want to have sex, and having it won’t do anything to them but take away their virginity and give them expirience.

    That is me thinking of it through scientific eyes, relating a human to every other animal in the world whom we are made up of the same substances as and whose genetic material is made up of the same proteins as us.

    My feelings toward two twelve year olds having sex is that they should wait at least till their teenagers. But that opinion and all of yours is derived from a combination of our culture and for some parental instinct and experience.

  35. 132
    Louis Clark says:

    The fact is but ONE: Our society worries TOO MUCH about sex.For me sex is like drinking water or brushing my teeth,it´s natural,it happens when it needs to happen.OK,some have had sex when unprepared children,including myself,but sex is natural. Sex shops,movies and porno are NOT!!!!

  36. 133
    tom says:

    Bear in mind that, until marriage was invented about 5000-6000 years ago, a tribe (the basic unit of society) used sex for reproduction, enjoyment, and social bonding. Yes, that’s right. You may have noticed that when you have sex with someone you usually feel affection for them. that’s because it’s a very effective team-building exercise. Humans, like any animals, run primarily on the simple process that if something is enjoyable, then do it again, but if it hurts or is boring, then avoid it.
    There are only three ways that sex can be harmful: 1 it might cause physical injury or infection, 2 if a person is forced or coerced into a sexual act they might end up with long-term psychological trauma, or 3, the most common by far, parents try to ‘protect’ their children from sexual activity and knowledge of it.
    This often results in kids trying to fill in the blanks with guesswork or gossip, experimenting in secret and/or dangerous situations because they fear punishment from their parents, and suffering psychological problems because their authority figures (such as parents or religious leaders) tell them that a natural and enjoyable activity is somehow evil. My policy on this, and indeed everything, is that you can do what you like as long as you don’t hurt, unduly annoy, endanger, or unnecessarily restrict anyone else.
    By the way…from a purely scientific perspective; if you haven’t started practicing by about twelve, then there’s probably something wrong with you, although this is almost certainly not your fault. Blame the society which taught you to be ashamed of the natural human being.