Teenagers as Sexual Beings

7 05 2008

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while; I was sick all last weekend, I’m moving this weekend, and I have an AP history exam on Friday. So this will be brief.

I’ve heard a lot lately about the so-called “sexualization of children”. Believe me, I think thongs made for 10-year-olds are creepy. But, a lot of the time, when people talk about “sexualization”, they’re talking about the condition of teenagers (usually older ones) being sexual.

Adolescents are sexual beings. Almost all of them, (unless they’re asexual), have sexual thoughts and urges from time to time; a good number of them actually do sexual things with other people. I’m pretty sure it’s been this way for ages; I don’t think rap music/the internet/whatever the scapegoat of the month is suddenly introduced this concept. It’s just the way we are. I think there is a difference between being sexual and being sexualized; one is not necessarily the result of the other. I think teens need to take more ownership of their sexuality, not just supress it because the powers that be feel it’s “inappropriate.” Because it’s natural. I don’t think it makes one a victim of media brainwashing or peer pressure; I think it just is what it is.

What are your thoughts on this?

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9 responses

8 05 2008
Brianne

My thoughts on this is that YES, teenagers are sexual beings and they always will be. At school, we aren’t even allowed to share a hug with someone of the opposite sex if we’re going out. That always confuses me. Even at my friend’s school they have BANNED hugs.

If we are told that we are sexual beings in sex-ed, then why can’t we show our true colours?

And besides, what’s the harm in a hug?

8 05 2008
Lyndsay

Hugs? That’s not even sexual sometimes. My high school friends hugged all the time. Haven’t they heard of good touch and bad touch?

Anyway, we can’t set an age on when being a sexual person begins although some people for some reason wish it were 18 or 20 or when a person is married. Or at least they think we should pretend that is the case. While others believe even children are sexual in some way and it’s true children might be curious in ways we don’t want to think of them being curious. I think it makes sense that we become more sexual at puberty but this is way too early for some parents to face. Not that that means we should be comfortable with teens dating and doing anything after puberty but it’s a time to recognize that they will start to think of these things more. I think a culture’s beliefs are slow to adjust to other changes in the culture. So in the old days when women hit puberty later and married earlier, it seems it was reasonable to expect them to repress their sexuality until marriage. Yet some of us still expext that. Strange.

Also, going to Amsterdam’s sex museum kind of confirmed to me how humans are sexual all throughout the world, even if a culture tries to repress sexuality, it’s there. Like you said it’s always been there but modern things such as rap, the internet, etc just give us a way to be more open with our sexuality and change is hard to people who like how things used to be.

8 05 2008
Brianne

Hmm. Never thought of it that way.

9 05 2008
Sunflower

Well, that’s pretty much what puberty is – the point at which one reaches reproductive (and therefore sexual) maturity. Age-old truth: teenagers are horny rascals. Rap and the ‘Net don’t cause it, rock’n’roll and TV don’t cause it, jazz (look up the origin of that word sometime!) and radio don’t cause it – it’s the hormones.

I have to disagree with Lyndsay’s “people who like how things used to be”, at least to the extent that the “used to be” is largely a false picture. Sexuality, including teen sexuality, has been pretty out-in-the-open since the ’60s – in fact, the idea that teens, by the sheer fact of being postpubescent, were going to be interested in sex was more accepted in the ’70s and ’80s than it is now. (She’s right in noting that children have a sexuality, though – it’s quite different from postpubescent sexuality, but it’s real.)

Going back to the original post, your thoughts on the difference between sexuality and sexualization seem spot-on. I’m going to stick my neck out a bit and point to this post which goes into a lot of the same ideas. That particular post is “minor-safe”, but it is technically a sex blog (though there’s really more feminism and social commentary there than there is sex); let it be known that I am in no way advising or encouraging minors to peruse the rest of it. (Which disclaimer in itself goes back to some of the issues under discussion.)

Sunflower

9 05 2008
missnomered

I can’t get into that blog right now – I’m at school and it’s blocked as “pornography”. Heh.

Kinda proves my point, doesn’t it?

9 05 2008
Marisa

Look at it from the perspective of Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet.

All about adolescents, whether in early years or later teenage years, sex was important. Sex is an underlying theme in novels from the 1600s. Teenagers had urges.

10 05 2008
Tirade

Wasn’t too long ago that I was a teenager… and not only was I interested in sex, but I was still a bit confused as to what kind I wanted. 🙂 It wasn’t until after I got to college that I was able to look back and realize that I had a crush on a gay friend of mine. But I’d never been able to come to grips with that, so I’d never told him. And I lost contact after high school. C’est la guerre. :\

But yeah… I was young and curious. I got pretty much all my information from other teens and the internet, because there’s that invisible barrier. Adults and teens aren’t allowed to interact in any way shape or form with anything having to do with sex. It really kept me from learning some of the things I should have.

So I’ve made it a point to just be completely open and honest about matters relating to sex. And if the person I’m talking to is under that magical age of 18, who cares? I know if my little sister has a problem that she can’t talk to my parents about, she can come to me. (granted, she’s still my little sister so I’ll probably have to tease her mercilessly about it… but I can still give advice and tell her about my experiences first. 😛 ) I didn’t really have that when I was her age.

26 06 2008
Teenage Sex Panic, part eleventy-seven « Miss Nomered

[…] or pressure from your partner), is probably also not the greatest idea. But, as said before, teenagers are sexual beings. And, no, admitting that does not mean that you want to have sex with teenagers. Teens will have […]

14 06 2009
Being Amber Rhea » Blog Archive » Stuff I have pinned in Bloglines

[…] Teenagers as Sexual Beings (from Miss Nomered) […]

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