Sunday, July 30, 2017

Teens Still Having Sex

A couple of weeks ago, I laughed when I saw the headline on an online news article that read Teens Still Having Sex. Seriously? It makes for a good blog heading, but this does not qualify as news. They call it “news” for a reason. The teen sex headline could have appeared carved into a rock in the Stone Age, and it would not have even been news then. I suppose this just goes with the territory nowadays as we wander through the wonderland of fake news, fact checking, biased information, distortions of research findings for monetary gain, and obfuscation of truth. News has lost its identity. These days, people define true and false according to their own personal and often fairly random belief system. If someone doesn’t like a “fact,” they will google around until they find information supporting their desire to un-fact that fact. So I’m not surprised that journalists are grasping at straws to provide news that is absolutely 100% true. You can always depend on teens having sex to be an indisputable fact.

These days, we have to track down the source of news and information, and then decide if we consider it a trustworthy and real source of true information or not. For instance, it drives me crazy when I see articles touting “research” about how wonderful statin drugs are, and that everyone should be taking them because they effectively lower cholesterol. Studies cited are generally those commissioned by the drug companies that make and sell statins. (Surprise.) Meanwhile, the truth, and this is real news, is that cholesterol has nothing to do with heart disease. In fact, statins interfere with our ability to process cholesterol effectively, and they have serious health consequences despite the fact that Big Pharma has brainwashed doctors into thinking statins are benign. Follow the money, as they say. Research promoting statins is brought to you by the folks who profit from you buying statins.  Rant over. Where were we? Oh, right, teen sex. It’s safe to say that teens really are still having sex. The lucky ones anyway. So that qualifies as true information, albeit old news. Let’s call it olds.

Over the years, as a grant writer, I have occasionally been offered work writing federally funded grants to promote teen abstinence. I always turn these projects down since I subscribe to the research that indicates that a fundamental developmental purpose of adolescence is to explore sex. Teaching safe sex makes more sense to me than trying to convince a creature pumped full of exploding hormones that they don’t want to have sex. Preaching abstinence does not end well. Look what happened to Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood in “Splendor in the Grass.” If you look up the antonym for sexual abstinence in the dictionary, it says “teenage boys.” Trying to convince a teenage boy that it’s not a good idea to have sex is like trying to dissuade a cat from eating tuna. Hardwired.

I read an article by novelist Daniel Handler (A.K.A. Lemony Snicket) in which he discusses how his most recent teen novel was classified as an adult novel because it has so much sex in it. He says he purposely put a lot of sex in it to encourage teen boys, who make up a large proportion of “reluctant readers,” to engage in the activity of reading. Handler argues, and he has a good point, that teen boys are far more likely to read books with plenty of sex in them. I think this is largely the case with the majority of males of any age. I abandoned Oscar Hijuelos’s Pulitzer-prize-winning The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love in mid-sentence because I got bored with the continuous boinking on every page, and began to yearn for a story about something more thought-provoking than the feel of a woman in nylons. When I mentioned this to my husband, he immediately dropped the nonfiction tome that he had been reading and snatched up my copy of Mambo Kings. They never really outgrow it, these guys. The fact that Mambo Kings won the Pulitzer prize only cements my contention that men dominate the Pulitzer prize selection committee. Which is why a book in which a man converses with his penis is a surefire candidate to win the Pulitzer. It worked for Phillip Roth and Junot Diaz. (I just googled “Pulitzer Prize winning novels in which men talk to their penis” and I got over one million hits.) I just realized that if I write a book in which a woman talks to a penis I may finally have a fighting chance of getting a book published. Does this qualify as news?

I seem to have wandered pretty far astray from where I started. My point is that teenagers having sex will never be news. Wake me up if they stop.

Why the picture of the daisies? What picture do you suggest for this blog post? 
In the movies they always cut to a field of daisies during the sex scenes, right? So here you go.

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