Daniel Gingras

The first time I really sat down and thought about how sexually charged our generation has become was at a Cotillion Club dance in high school. Members of the Cotillion Club were upperclassmen only (juniors and seniors) whose privilege was to attend regular banquet dances at a fancy hotel. There were three extremely important goals at each Cotillion Dance: Elevate your BAL to within inches of death, feast on appetizers and banquet dishes to within inches of coma, and then pair up with somebody hot on the dance floor and jack each other off. Somehow a lot of these kids, aged 16-18, were completely dismissive of the patrolling parent chaperones and the crowd of hundreds, happily masturbating each other to their heart’s content. I found myself thinking about how drastically different the high school dance in the 40s movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” was, how Jimmy Stewart can barely muster the courage to give Donna Reed a goodnight kiss, and how nakedness was so taboo that Donna Reed fully hides herself in a bush after her robe falls off. It wasn’t an after-sex robe, it was just because she had fallen in the school pool. In that era, spiking the punch was probably the dirtiest conceivable act for unmarried teenage kids.

From the 60s to today, sexuality has steadily charged into the center stage of American culture. Good parents are still dissuading it and many religions still teach that you wait for marriage, yet kids are expressing their sexuality at increasingly younger ages.

What factors contribute to the sexually active youth? Marty Klein (Ph.D) in his paper “The History and Future of Sex” suggests numerous reasons, including the Internet and pornography, the cultural normalization of female masturbation, kids’ increased private time at home after school, and even the significance of email replacing the written love letter.

My theory is that the youths’ “perceived maturity” has gone up. What I mean is that with the rise of technology and the growing open-mindedness and social acceptance of sexuality (sexuality is even a part of politics now!) kids are getting exposed to the stuff at younger ages, and are deciding for themselves that they are informed enough to experiment sexually. Put yourself in the shoes of a 14-year-old in the year 2006. Think about how you probably own a cell phone on which you can have private conversations with members of the opposite sex. If not, Nielsen/Netratings reports that 75 percent of all homes in the U.S. have the Internet, so you can probably use email or IRC (Internet relay chat like MSN or AIM) to communicate. It was only a decade ago that I had to ask my parents for permission to use to phone when I wanted to play baseball with my buddies, and surely I would never dare to request a phone call with a girl. And these days, unless your V-chip gets programmed or your parents pay a lot of attention to your TV habits at home and away, you have seen half a million soft-core sex scenes on daytime TV. If you stay up past your bedtime, you will surely see tits on HBO.

I think sexuality is a very natural, healthy thing. I don’t necessarily agree with losing your virginity at 14 years old, but what I do think is important given that we can’t seem curb the libidos of our youth, we must abandon dated abstinence programs and focus on sex education. I was fortunate enough to have a lady in 5th grade come to the class and show me how to put a condom on a banana, and for the sake of preventing unwanted pregnancies and STDs nationwide, every kid should, metaphorically, handle a banana penis.

For comments, questions, or to have Daniel come to your house and demonstrate the use of a condom on a banana for your children, write to dgingras@calpoly.edu.

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