Oral Sex: The New Goodnight Kiss?

Is oral sex the new goodnight kiss?

Well according to a Canadian filmmaker Sharlene Azam’s new documentary, it is. This documentary aims to “shed light” on the secretive, immensely sexual lives of American teenagers. Starting with the explicit title “Oral Sex is the New Goodnight Kiss,” the film uses little censorship when describing the sexuality of girls as young as eleven. An article written by Claire Shipman and Cole Kazdin titled “Teens: Oral Sex and Casual Prostitution No Biggie” gave a brief overview of the film. According to the article, these young girls are seen and heard talking about sex, sex parties, and even “crossing into prostitution by exchanging sexual favors for money, clothes or even homework and then still arriving home in time for dinner with the family.”

Casual prostitution in Azam’s terms is “being paid at parties to strip, giving sexual favors or having sex” for money and material things. Oral sex hasn’t been considered sex in the eyes of teens for a while. In fact, it’s not even a “big deal” to most of them. According to the documentary, over half of the teens from ages 15 to 19 have had oral sex.

Some quotes from the documentary are as follows, and I got them from the same source as I used above.

  • “Five minutes and I got $100,” one girl said. “If I’m going to sleep with them, anyway, because they’re good-looking, might as well get paid for it, right?”
  • “[Parents] don’t want to know because they really don’t know what to do. I mean, you might be prepared to learn that, at age 12, your daughter has had sex, but what are you supposed to do when your daughter has traded her virginity for $1,000 or a new bag?”
  • “I ended up having sex with more than one person that night and then in the morning I was trying to get morning-after pills,” one of the girls said. “I was, like, 14 at the time.”

I feel there is nothing else needed to say. The point is evident: sexuality is escalating to extreme levels. How does our education, relationship with parents, and morality contribute to the demoralization of society? Here’s a clip to check out about the documentary.


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Sex, Etc.

I stumbled upon something that I found to be rather interesting during my research. First, I started looking at a site called “Rethinking Schools,” and an article titled “Sex Etc.” After reading, I learned that “Sex Etc.” is a magazine on sexuality written for teens and by teens. According to rethinkingschools.org, “The only publication of its kind, “Sex, etc.” is a frank, sexually explicit newsletter published three times a year by the Network for Family Life Education, a coalition of public, private, and nonprofit agencies that supports family life education — including comprehensive sexuality education — in school and community settings.” The article continued to say that the 8 page magazine is distributed for free widely across the United States and addresses topics that may be unheard of in sexual education programs. These include but are not limited to: “abstinence, contraception, teen parenthood, sexually transmitted disease, AIDS, gay and lesbian teens, sexual harassment and violence, abortion, substance abuse, and child sexual abuse.”

I proceeded to check out the magazine’s web site. There was more available than I originally could have imagined, including a large glossary of “Sex Terms” that teens can look up the definitions to. I mean, this glossary literally has everything you can imagine, things some people would go red in the face simply thinking about. Along with this is a list of frequently asked questions, information on how to get tested for Sexually Transmitted Infections, and direct answers to what you can do in a “Crisis” (i.e. rape, unprotected sex).

A few more interesting things that the site offered were quotes and stories from people about their thoughts and feelings about sex. They are encouraged to be extremely open, even if that means using a different name if they aren’t comfortable using their own. People can create profiles, and something I took interest in was on a girl named Brittany, a 16-year-old from Illinois’ profile. There was a chart of what she was taught in sex education class, and what her class skipped over that the website deemed important. The list of the things that she learned is as follows (I copied and pasted this directly from the website):

 • Masturbation • Menstruation • Different kinds of sex • Issues faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual, Trans, or questioning people • Pregnancy options • Abstinence • Abstinence as the only acceptable choice for teens • STDs • How to talk to your partner about sex • Rape and sexual assault

And the list of important things that her class failed to discuss is also as follows, and is once again copied and pasted directly from the website.

• Wet dreams • Fingering and hand jobs • How to decide if you’re ready for sex • How to talk to your parents about sex • How to talk to your partner about birth control or safer sex • How to figure out if your relationship is healthy or not • How to manage online flirting and dating • How to know if your body is developing in a normal way • How to find a clinic

I found this particularly shocking because half of these things were undoubtedly left out of my own Sex-Ed experience. I think that this magazine should be distributed nation wide in health classes and even the educators might need a training course to teach them how to teach us. Abstinence only isn’t a realistic approach anymore. They need to be discussing issues that they don’t want us to have to deal with, but they are important, and unfortunately, with the way things are going, many of us will have to deal with. Sex needs to stop being the forbidden subject! Teens and tweens need to feel comfortable with at least one adult to ask questions without feeling ashamed and embarrassed. Like Mr. Coffee says, one only learns from being uncomfortable, so we need to make ourselves uncomfortable and get the awkward subjects out there if we really want to change the way things are going.

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Sexual Education

With the provocative media and a society that’s quickly becoming demoralized, Sex Education Programs have been called into question. The concern has shifted from whether or not Sex Ed. is appropriate to what kind of approach editors should take. Should they still preach abstinence? Or should they take a more realistic, but also more traditional approach by educating on the correct use of contraceptives? How does the environment in which this class is taught influence the overall effectiveness of the message?

Frequently this class is taught separately, girls with girls, boys with boys. However, in the occasion that the two are mixed, the environment suddenly changes. With giggles at the word “genitals” and the clapping and whistling when speaking of self breast exams, it makes you wonder if sexual health and maintenance cannot be both taken seriously or delivered appropriately, should we even bother trying to deliver the message. To me this question is really not worth asking. I mean honestly, have you looked at a magazine, television, or even book lately? The Twilight series, a popular book and movie among teenaged girls, has even been criticized for presenting abstinence in the wrong way. Who knew that you could propose abstinence in the wrong way?

The point is that educating the younger generations, at even younger ages, is important. Sexual activity is no longer solely an act adults or even young adults indulge in, it’s preteens, middle schooler’s, kids who haven’t even reached puberty. It’s a rapidly growing sexual revolution, and although children may be able to distinguish what is okay to do in a show or what is okay to do in real life, it still gets their minds on the topic of sex, something it shouldn’t be on at such young ages. The opposite sex sure doesn’t seem to have cooties anymore.

So as a “necessary and legitimate course of study,” what is the right approach to take? It’s hard to say. However, by separating boys and girls, I think that it leaves an opportunity for them to miss an important aspect of the course. They should be coed so that they realize the potential awkwardness of exploring their sexuality at young ages. They need to know the facts, both boys and girls, before they get “caught up in the moment.” We’ve all heard that story one too many times, rarely with a happy ending. One website even suggested taking a more scientific approach to the course with hopes of making children realize that sex is a “serious part of their human development rather than a recreational activity.” The possibilities are endless, but it is necessary that we start taking the object of the course seriously and take a more responsible approach to delivering the message. It’s important and if we don’t take the time to educate we’ll suffer the consequences.    

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Media Influences

So whether you think sexuality’s prevalence in today’s society is good, bad, happy, or sad, it definitely raises some questions. Is society taking a downfall? Are morals soon to be unheard of? With sexual encounters happening at younger ages and the media throwing sex around like it’s nothing, are today’s teens, tweens, and children at a higher risk for STD’s, teenage pregnancy, and other consequences of sex? Are we too open about our sexuality? Is it too late to change? All are questions that race through my mind when I looked at these statistics from the following website: http://womensissues.about.com/od/datingandsex/qt/TweenDating.htm

  • 47% of tweens and 37% of 11 and 12-year olds say they’ve been in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.
  • 72% say dating relationships begin by age 14.

Nearly one-third of tweens and parents say sexual activity is a part of tween dating relationships.
Specifically, the percentage of tweens and parents identified below acknowledge the following acts as part of a dating relationship:

  • Touching and feeling up – 37% of tweens and 31% of parents
  • Oral sex – 27% of tweens and 26% of parents
  • Sexual intercourse – 28% of tweens and 26% of parents

Maybe I’m the only one who found these results absolutely shocking… even more so when I realized that their definition of a tween is a person between the ages of 11 and 14. What has happened to today’s society? How much is to blame on parenting? The media?

At risk of not wording it better myself, “adolescents may be exposed to sexual content in the media during a developmental period when gender roles, sexual attitudes, and sexual behaviors are being shaped.” This makes teens and tweens particularly vulnerable due to their not-fully-developed cognitive processes. Because of this inability to decipher between what is dramatized and what is socially acceptable, the decisions teens make continue to be influenced by what may or may not be accurately represented in the media. Typically sex, unprotected and frequently premarital, is glamorized and presented in a positive light. Statistics show that “on average, teenaged viewers see 143 incidents of sexual behavior” on television each week.

 Popular shows like Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and 16 and Pregnant are all contributors to this moral dilemma, and those are just a few to say the least. While it is arguable that the latter two try to show the consequences of being sexually active, in some girls minds it’s glamorizing teen pregnancy, making it look easy and desirable even. However, maybe its more shows like this, down to the nitty-gritty and shockingly personal, that we need.

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Somewhere down the line we need to take a look at ourselves and realize if this is a life we want to continue to lead and pass down to our children. I plan to add more to this topic later in the week.

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Changes Since the Victorian Era

Now that we took a glance back at the Victorian Era, I’d like to discuss views on sexuality in the modern era. How have things changed? What things have stayed the same? How will things change in the future with technology constantly improving? Also, as a side note, if you have any ideas while reading this, questions that might be interesting to have answered, or feedback I’d really appreciate hearing your reactions and you have to say or think. I’m going to use the same website as my last blog for the majority of this blog post and hopefully do an okay job of addressing the views on modern day sexuality.  Once again, I’ll cover the topics of sexual activity, masturbation, homosexuality, and prostitution.

Sexual activity and the way people view it has changed dramatically since the Victorian era. In fact, during the 1950’s a silent “sexual revolution” for females began with the writings of Simone De Beauvoir and Irene Walton.  These writings brought up the notion of indulging in sex purely for pleasure. The “growth of the Women’s Liberation Movement” and the introduction of Freud and his theories became popular at the time, contributing to this revolution. The 1960’s rolled along, bringing along the idea of leading lives filled with “sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” It wasn’t until the 1970’s that premarital sex was widely accepted.  Since then, the importance of female sexuality has been highlighted in many books, magazines, etc.

Masturbation is no longer looked at as a social illness. While it may not frequently be the subject of dinner conversations, according to the Transformation of Intimacy by Anthony Giddens, 90 percent of men and 40 percent of women have admitted to masturbating at some point in their life. (16) In some situations, masturbation is actually encouraged to seek sexual gratification while still remaining abstinent.

Homosexuality is controversy at its finest; however it has come a long way since the Victorian Era. Up until the 1980’s, people thought of homosexuality to be a disease caused by a dominant mother and weak father. Freud was undeniably popular at the time, and the fact that he argued that social ostracism was not appropriate when it came to the treatment of homosexuals influence some individuals’ personal opinions.  Now, people wonder if homosexuality is more so biological than a chosen lifestyle. I think it’s safe to say that homosexuals battle a lot of criticism in today’s society when it comes to issue like marriage and adoption; nevertheless they are earning respect and equal rights slowly but surely.

Prostitution is illegal today. It seems that now women seem less forced into this occupation and it’s more of a conscious choice.  It proves that a woman can control her own sexuality, and frequently you find prostitutes using the “it’s my body I can do what I want with it” excuse.  It’s unclear if prostitution has increased or decreased, but it does still exist in many regions.

These four things have clearly changed since the Victorian Era, and many others that I will soon address in a future blog entry.

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History of Sexuality

Thanks to the help of Mr. Coffee, I think I finally have a direction where I want to take this topic. In the past century, sexuality as we know it has evolved. As technology advances and the development of things such as the Birth Control Pill, HIV/AIDS, medications like Viagra and Cialis, have become available to us, our perspectives of human sexuality have evolved. This got me thinking about what influences sex and sexuality, and the list I’m about to post is from this website.

• Technology is allowing sexual satisfaction to be less dependent on the presence of another person.
• Pharmaceutical companies are creating medications that increase arousal, desire, passion, and sexual performance.
• Science is making a perpetually youthful appearance and physical perfection achievable.
• Demographic changes in the United States are leading to increasing arousal to a wider variety of ethnicities and skin colors, and cross-cultural dating is more evident. Furthermore, a myriad of new sexual practices and beliefs are being introduced.
• Sex research is increasing our knowledge about human sex and sexuality.

So how has the perspective of human sexuality evolved? From what, to what? How will they continue to evolve with technology? Let’s first take a look where we were at the beginning of the Victorian Era, and views on sexual activity, masturbation, homosexuality, and prostitution during that time period.

Sexual activity was not something that women of the Victorian Era were able to experience, unless strictly for the purpose of procreation. Women seeking sexual pleasure were thought not to be leading “God-filled lives.” During this time period, multiple pamphlets were printed suggesting that women too needed sexual gratification. However, there were some that continued to preach marital continence, “the voluntary and entire absence from sexual indulgence in any form.” A combination of lack of knowledge and what was socially acceptable lead to a “race of sexless creatures,” practically “married nuns.”

Masturbation, or “sexual self gratification” according to www.dictionary.com, was highly frowned down upon. It was considered a “moral disgrace” and was “shunned by the majority of society.” Once again, due to a lack of knowledge, people thought masturbation led to diseases like heart disorders, cancers, hysteria, and insanity. Even if they didn’t think that masturbation caused the problems, they whole heartedly believed that masturbation worsened your condition. One final thing that really shows how things have evolved as far as masturbation is concerned is the fact that they believed masturbating could be passed down to a person’s offspring, therefore a parent who had masturbated was more likely to have a child that masturbated. Oh, how the times have changed.

Homosexuality, “the practice of same gender sexual relations,” was known as the “practices of a sinner.” It wasn’t until later on that people suspected that homosexuality was caused by a mental defect. Originally people thought that only men engaged in this act, and Queen Victoria once said “ladies would never engage in such despicable acts.” Obviously while this is completely false, men did tend to participate in homosexual relationships more than women. In the late 1800’s there was a shift from being a sinner to being a pervert if one was a homosexual.

Prostitution was considered a “moral dilemma” but also a “necessary evil.” Many young women were forced into this business to try to keep themselves off the street and earn money. At this time period, women still didn’t have the same job opportunities as men did. Society viewed these women as whores, and contributors to “moral decline.”

Clearly times have changed. Societies views on sexuality have also changed, however, a lot of the views we see and hear about today are clearly rooted from the Victorian Era and have not done a complete 180. I consciously chose the term “evolution” to describe this phenomenon because while outlooks have evolved, they are not completely different than the opinions and views we see regarding these issues today; they have a clear connection to history.

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Senior Exit Project Topic

For my Senior Exit Project I plan to research the differences between male and female psychology, sexuality in particular. Being in AP Psychology has sparked my interest in the subject and opened my eyes into more controversial topics. I knew that I didn’t want to do research over something that I would get bored with easily, so instead I went with my gut feeling about what I find interesting, even if it may seem “inappropriate” for a school environment. I figure that in the end I will be giving my presentation to a group of adults who won’t feel the need to chuckle if I have to use words such as genitals or sex. I have already learned a little bit about my topic from a project I had to do in advanced health last year when I was assigned to research the differences in the ways men think versus the way women think. The project didn’t seem like a hassle to do because I was so interested. I’m hoping that if I use a similar topic I will find the same results. It also surprisingly made it easier for me to present without nerves because I was excited to share everything that I had found. I’m planning to get a little information from Mrs. Clark on where to begin research. There is a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m excited to attempt to tackle it.

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