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Anatomical Natt

On whippersnappers and sex

I was looking at lasultrix's post about minors reading NC-17 material (and the comments within it) and was highly interested. But as I got to thinking about a response, I went off subject in my head. This doesn't pertain to the same things in Lasair's post, exactly; it's just an off-shooting opinion of what she and the commenters had to say.


Smart Devils or Ignorant Angels?
Kids and sex and why people think they shouldn't mix

Have people been trained to believe that 18 is the ideal age to engage in "adult activities" because it's the age of majority in most places? Or do they sincerely believe it?

These days, when sex is mainstream entertainment, kids younger and younger are being exposed. As a result, more kids know what's smart and what's not about sex. So what's with people clinging to the idea of protecting their kids' pureness from the dirty-dirty? Kids are not "pure". They are horny little fuckers and they have sinful, nasty thoughts, just like everyone else.

I'm thinking part of it is that parents are afraid of their kids growing up. We don't want our puppy to turn into a doggy because then he's not cute anymore, just slobbery. Just the same, parents don't want their kids to think adult thoughts, or what they perceive as adult thoughts, because then they will not be little angels anymore. More bluntly---it's selfishness.

Not selfishness alone, though.

There is the general belief that sexuality is simply bad for children, in all its forms. The notion is unavoidable. It's in television programs, commercials, magazines, churches, books, posters, public schools. It's planted in the brain from an early age. It's a near unshakable ideology because the subject of children is a delicate one. And some people don't bother considering that an underage person might be capable of reading NC-17 material and coming out just fine, because it's just so scandalous. Even if they disagree, they can't tell their kids they don't mind them watching porn because they don't want to be a bad parent, do they? They don't want people to think that they're perverts, do they? So. Mouths shut, minds closed.

There is also the belief that sex is something sacred, something that should only be between two married people, and, of course, you can't do that until you're 18; if it's not within those circumstances, don't see sex, don't hear it, don't speak it.

When it comes down to it, sexuality is made out as something dangerous altogether. Perhaps the most dangerous thing in the world. Whether it's the act of sex or even the thought of sex. And to mix it with children, who are impressionable until the moment they turn 18, would be outrageous.

But, in my opinion, the most dangerous thing in the world is ignorance. I don't mean that in a PC, peace and love, you-have-to-celebrate-Kwanza-or-you're-a-racist sort of way. Just that keeping a person in a protective bubble does more damage than good.

Hiding sex from kids is censorship, and I oppose censorship in almost every form. I don't care how old the person in reference is. Honestly, when I hear BLEEP over the word "fuck" on television, when I see the blurred out middle-finger, when I hear about Janet Jackson's sinful breast, when I read list after list of books removed from student libraries for "indecency" or "racial insensitivity," I think of Communist Russia. An extreme reaction on my part, yes, but my reaction all the same.

The following is an example (from my life) about the results of censorship.


Mom: Do you know what sex is?

Natt has always been shielded from this subject and, as a result, concludes that Mother will be angry if she knows that Natt knows.

Mom: Well?

Natt: No. Never, mummy. *takes on the confused face of a future stage actor*

Mom: It's when the boy's pee pee goes into the girl's pee pee.

Natt: *mental snortsnortsnort*

Mom: Don't have sex.

Natt: Okay.

Mom: But you can always come to me if you have questions. Just don't have sex. Or watch anything containing it. Or talk about it.

Shortly thereafter:

Natt: *horny*

Instead of confiding in parents or reading an educational book or exploring personal genitalia, Natt sneaks into the living room late at night and watches porn channels.

Porn: I'm going to show you how to stick a large penis into this woman's anus.

Natt: *learns*


So, because I thought everyone disapproved of sex and didn't want me to know about it, mainly my parents, I never once confided in my mother about anything sexual. Kids don't want to get into trouble. It's the worst thing possible. If they sense disapproval, they may end up getting their education from less savory sources.

I don't mean just younger kids. Teenagers too. The ones who are reading your sexually explicit fanfic and, a lot of times, writing it. Both teens and children, and adults, really, would be better off not having to sneak around to enjoy things that come naturally. Society pushes the belief that sex is inappropriate, even while most everyone loves it and most everyone is interested in it. But it wouldn't be such a big deal if people stopped making it a big deal.

So. What I am trying to say is this: I think it's a compellation of pressures that makes a person believe underage people shouldn't be reading, watching, or having sex: mainly fear (of shocking family and friends, of losing jobs, of being confronted with legal matters), and also indoctrination and selfishness. These people should give it some more thought, in my opinion. After all, sex is as natural as breathing (and much safer on the screen than in the bed).

Lighten up! Kiddies needda wank too.

Hm, I can't think of anything to add. Ditto!


I read what you said in your journal, about it being an issue unique to every person; we agree there too. While I think sex is a bearable subject at any age, it should be up to the individual when they are ready for what.

There's a difference, though, between what I decide is OK for my kid and what other parents decide is OK for their kids. My son (who is 9) and I have been discussing sex for close to a year already. I don't have any problems with him reading sexy stuff when he gets to the age where I think he can handle it.

However, I have no right to tell other parents what's best for their children. If they don't want their kids reading porn, that's their decision and their affair. The only time it becomes my business is when other parents -- or the government -- freak out because their precious kiddies got exposed to something they don't want the kids to see. That's the *only* reason I care about the underage issue. I don't really give a damn what kids read. I'm not responsible for anyone's child but my own. But when we live in a country where ridiculous shit like this happens, it's best to at least give the appearance of prudence on an issue like this.

I don't have any problems with him reading sexy stuff when he gets to the age where I think he can handle it.

But here you do exactly what I find so wrong about it: what about when HE thinks he's ready to handle it? Which may be much earlier than when you think he can?

I was a family planning counselor for over 10 years and I've seen/heard soooo much from kids who don't a clue about their own sexuality. Many of these kids and young adults dive in dick first because they don't have anyone to talk to about the mechanics or, more importantly, the emotions involved in sex. As a parent it is my job to teach my children about their bodies - every function from A to Z. It is embarrassing to tell your nine year old what humping is? Yes, been there done that. He asked and I wasn't going to lie. As he gets older and his body continues to change it will surely get more embarrassing. But I don't want him coming to me some day and telling me he has gotten a girl pregnant or has HIV. Am I afraid that he'll use some new found piece of information to try something sexual when he gets older? Well a little, but I'm more afraid of his doing something without any information.

I saw what happens to kids who don't have a clue when their hormones finally kick into overdrive. Often times they learn by doing and end up making HUGE life altering mistakes in the process (pregnancy, STD, HIV, etc). It is a life-altering experience to have to tell a fifteen year old girl that she is pregnant. When she replies that she had no clue how it happened and her parents would kill her (some kids are over-dramatic about this and some are dead serious) your heart breaks. Try telling a 17 year old girl that she has precancerous lesions on her cervix from genital warts. I can't imagine having to be the one getting that news as it is bad enough giving it. Information is good, ignorance can kill or destroy someone's life.

What shocked me the most were the people who had sex in search of something that was not related to sex at all. These people would do ANYTHING for a partner thinking they would find love/acceptance/an escape/whatever. They may know all the facts but have so much emotional baggage that they chose to ignore it. A pamphlet and a chat will do little to help these people.

This is wonderfully written and I couldn't agree more.
If I had the brains I would write one of those long reviews telling you why I loved it so much, but alas...

I'll just say that I loved this and I applaud you.
*Runs off to pimp*

Very well put, indeed. (I'm here via biichan's LJ.)

I think this post resonates with me at the moment because last night, I was watching a show about plastic surgery, and a poor unfortunate woman who was getting a badly needed breast reduction to go from a 38 II (yes, that's right - DOUBLE I BREASTS) to a slightly more manageable 38 E. And during the part of the show where the surgeon is marking her up before she's wheeled into the operating room, the camera blurs out her nipples.

And I stared at the blurry rings with complete incomprehension on my face. This poor woman's breasts were immense, well over the border of 'grotesque' and edging into 'downright freakish'. (The doctors ended up removing 5000 grams of tissue -- over 10 pounds -- from her breasts.) There was absolutely no way that you couldn't know what the doctor was marking up...and the television show STILL thought that her nipples were something that had to be censored.

I don't understand it. I honestly don't understand it at all.

Here from daily_snitch and I agree completely. Must be something in the air, because I independantly posted about this very topic earlier today. There is no ON/OFF switch that comes with voter registration that controls your libido.

There's a difference between putting out fires in your living room, and pretending the fire isn't there.

I just wanted to add to this that the reasons for 18 being set have very little to do with ideas about sexual development. 18 is used as the point of suffrage in many Western countries, but it was not set there because of ideas about sex or sexual identity. 18 is about suffrage and property/contract, and the relationship between suffrage and property laws and various educational discourses (including being sexually informed as distinct from sexually developed) is a fraught one. 18 became a kind of compromise, really.

here via the daily_snitch.

snortsnortsnort! Exactly what happened to me. Sex was a non-existant item in our family - although it must have happened, sometime, somewhen, as we were five sisters. But my mother always pretended people didn't exist from the waist downwards. So I did the same as you, I learned from other sources. Sure it didn't damage me, but it could have been so much more comfortable and yes, easier, if it could have been openly discussed at home.

Yes, sex IS a dangerous thing, because it is such a powerful drive, but it would be far more harmless if it was handled in a more mature way. What makes it dangerous is the subpression of it, not the dealing openly with the subject, imo.

Why it is considered harmful for children to know about/read/watch/have sex WHEN THEY WANT it is beyond me and I have not yet found anyone able to answer this question to my satisfaction.

Why it is considered harmful for children to know about/read/watch/have sex WHEN THEY WANT it is beyond me and I have not yet found anyone able to answer this question to my satisfaction.

The simple answer to that is that kids don't always want things that are good for them. I mean, because a kid wants to have sweets before supper, should they get them? If they want to rollerskate down a cliffside, should you let them? Hell no.

Why kids shouldn't know about sex whenever they want? I dunno. Hell, I can remember back to when I was three years old, and I still don't remember being told about sex. It just always *was*, and I think that's the way it should be. However, as for reading (non-technical), watching, and doing? Sometimes you're just not ready for what you think you are. A ten year old might think they're ready, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are. Kids always think they're more grown up than they are, but don't realise it until they *are* more grown up. If that makes sense.

It really depends on the kid. The parent/guardian should be on the ball to educate the child, and I don't think reading/watching is something any kid would be ready for before they're 13 or 14. I have my own views on the 'doing' bit, but I think slapping '18' on it is stupid. How are you mature enough to have sex on your 18th birthday, if you weren't the day before? Meh.

I completely agree with every thing you said, and you said it very well, too. I was personally raised in a very religious home, and ran right up against that wall of ignorance.

I was given a book - not talked to, given a book - when I had my first period. I was also terrified to bring up to my mother the fact that I was even *having* my period. By the time she found out, I had already had to fake being sick at school once in order to come home and try to deal with something I knew *nothing* about, and I'd been living in horror for half a year, sneaking tampons from my mother and sister each month and praying (oh, the irony) that no one would ever know.

The general attitude at home was that sex was BAD and WRONG in any form. I had it drilled into my head to the point that I had a literal breakdown when I realized one night that I had interrupted my parents going at it. If it was evil, why were they doing it?? Not that I could ask, of course. My mother wouldn't even answer me when I asked, in complete seriousness, at age 12, how two people who weren't married could have a child. What?

From that point on, about 5th grade, I decided 'Fuck this', and got my education on my own. I trolled the public library for adult books, snuck the occasional rated-R movie or primetime TV show, and eventually, learned all I needed to know about the dynamics and logistics and normal sexuality. Oh, and fanfic factors in there, too. Good Lord, where would I *be* without the lessons learned from reading porn underage?

To this day, I think my mother still assumes that I at 20 and my sister at 24 are innocent to anything more than the biological fundamentals of sex and sexual behavior. And of course we're both untouched virgins, waiting for that ring and blessed matrimony. God knows what would have happened if we'd been rebellious types.

*sigh* I'm very lucky, really, to have come out even remotely well-adjusted. Obviously I'm an extreme case, but my children will be raised very very differently than I was.

(Deleted comment)
Please tell me my country is not seriously taking this direction :o(

Unfortunately, it seems like all our beloved Scandinavian countries (Norwegian here) are taking a turn for the right nowadays...

(Deleted comment)

Hear from the daily_snitch

This made me laugh:

Porn: I'm going to show you how to stick a large penis into this woman's anus.

Natt: *learns*

Anyway, I do think that the issue is a great deal more complicated than just "YUO MUST NOT HAEV TEH SEXES UNTIL 16/18/28/35/64/102" as it depends on the individual and on the situation. I wouldn't leave an eleven year old alone with a copy of some bestial/carjack porn, but I wouldn't want to be alone with that kind of thing myself, and I'm twenty-two. I think an eleven year old can stand to read about masturbation and tits. Even masturbation with tits ("sausage bap, madam?") would probably turn out okay. In short, any sort of ordinary sex probably won't hurt a young'un if they come across it in a book. Society's horror of tits on the TV is really irritating, since kids surely already know what they look like.

I meant Here from the daily_snitch, obviously. :(

My colleague and I were talking the other day about parenting and cultural choices. So much of what we think of as the "right" way to parent is cultural, including remnants of religious belief even where day to day religious practice no longer exists. Example: On the whole, American parents tend to encourage independence; whereas, parents in some of ther cultures encourage welfare of group. So I, as an American mom, probably spend some energy helping my child get his needs met, where a mother in another culture might spend that same energy convincing the child he doesn't have those needs because it's bad for the group. I'm not entirely sure why we don't include sex drive in those needs we're busy getting met, but I expect that is largely a religious remnant.

I don't censor what my kids read. I just don't. I don't go showing them porn, and if I found them reading/watching/writing/drawing erotica or porn or whatever, I'd be inclined to ask them what they thought, ask them if they found this interesting, generally work to make sure they understood about...hm. I know what I mean, but I'm saying it badly. I'd want to make sure they were clear on procreative, recreational, and inappropriate uses of their bodies. I'd want to make sure they understood that there's this whole range of things to do, and as long as everyone knows what they're doing and feels good about it, it's all fair, but if someone doesn't it's not all fair. Like, there are tons of vegetables, and some people like all of them, but many people don't like brussels sprouts, and a few really only will eat peas. Heh.

On the other hand, I do censor shoot-em-up videogames. I've told them I don't see the point of practicing feeling happy about seeing someone's head explode. Actually, this sort of does follow; I imagine the explodee rarely is a consenting party. They hate that rule, but tough shit.

As to Janet and her boob? First of all, my kids see more of me than that all the time. I can't manage to learn to wear a bathrobe. It kills me when extra kids spend the night and I have to remember to apply clothing before going across the hall to the bathroom because regardless of my standards for my kid, I don't get to impose them on someone else's. In any case, when Janet's boob appeared, happily even the always-embarrassed 11 year old was clear on this: that? is just skin. Sheesh. Moving on.

Sigh. Anyway, I mostly agree with what you say. And I don't know that I am the person who will know when my kid is "ready" for sex, no matter how hard I try. I don't know a single mother who can objectively look at her 14 or 16 or 20 year old baby and think, hey, I know, you're probably ready for fucking! I mean, be aware that they may be? Sure. Be willing to discuss it? Absolutely. But actually look at the kid and think they're ready? Not so much. If my kid comes to me at 14 and asks for condoms, I imagine I'll look at him like he's grown a third eye or something and think, christ! butbut, my BABY. But if he's asking, clearly he'll think he's ready to be, and my opnion, or forbidding, will be irrelevant to that. So, I'll make sure he's clear on keeping himself and any partners healthy. And I'll give him the advice my mother gave me: for heaven's sake, don't do it in the back seat of a car. It's uncomfortable. Go somewhere you have some room, and take your time.


I have to back your opinion 100% here. I think current societal idea that there's an 'age' where sex becomes an appropriate topic for children is asinine (there is more-or-less an appropriate age for engaging in sexual activity, but that's another issue altogether). Sex is one of the most basic human behaviors and it's downright stupid to paint it with the brush of indecency or amorality.

I don't believe that sex should be ever made out to seem dirty, wrong, or bad in any way. I also don't think that it's possible to shield your children from learning about sex; you'd have to lock them in their room 24-7 and homeschool them without television or outside intervention of any sort...and that would be plain creepy and damaging.

Children are curious, smart little buggers. I know. I remember what it felt like to learn about sex. I remember finding my oldest sister's pornography stash when I was 4, for mercy's sake. *rolls eyes* Throw in the fact that my formative years were on a farm. *rolls eyes twice*

And the cut off age of 18? Downright insulting if you ask me. Why are we trying to hold young people back? Why does society seem to feel this push to extend childhood? It goes beyond sexual awareness; we've got college graduates who seem unable to cope. Less than 150 years ago girls were considered ready to MARRY a little beyond puberty, for goodness sake. While certainly NOT a solution for modern times, at least it was acknowledged that individuals were already sexual beings at that age.

And puberty ages are getting younger. Why are we culturally ignoring this?

Mom: It's when the boy's pee pee goes into the girl's pee pee.
You had more of a sex talk than I ever did. *snerk*

I wholeheartedly agree with you.

If--and this really is a big if--I ever adopt kids (in that situation, I plan to adopt a kid rather than have one myself), I plan to raise them in an atmosphere that is, basically, open. I want them to be able to talk to me about whatever: grades, teenage angst, puberty, porn, anything.

I love my mom, but really, I don't feel comfortable talking with her about some things. I remember a few years ago (I'm 14 now), when puberty first began to set in, I agonized for over a week before tentatively mumbling, "Mom I want to wear a bra okay thanks."

Seriously, I don't understand why sex regarded by today's society as "wrong" and "immoral." I mean, it's what got us here in the first place. Sure, you don't want your kid screwing around with their boyfriend/girlfriend after you give them a sex talk, but think of the alternative: some nasty STDs, teen pregnancies, even HIV.

And so, assuming I'm ever going to be raising children, I will definitely keep from censoring what they read.

Thanks for writing this; you're awesome. :D