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'07 Authors Insider Tips

FictionCraft
by Louisa Burton
Formatting Your Manuscript
Scams / Choosing an Agent
Pitching Your Novel...
From The Call to Published...


Hard Business
From Greg Herren
Who Is Telling This Story?
It’s Work, Not A Hobby
Where Ideas Come From


Sexy on the Page
With Shanna Germain
Plotting Erotic Fiction
Seducing Your Muse
Creating Characters...
Description, Action & Dialogue
Fucking on Paper
Ten No-Nos of Erotic Fiction
Climactic Moments: First Draft
Critique Groups
Revising Your Erotic Story
Finding the Perfect Markets...
Just Submit Already
Rejections and Acceptances


Two Girls Kissing
With Amie M. Evans
Verb Tense Confusion
Coming Up with Story Ideas
Attend a Writers’ Conference
The Fundamentals of POV
Should I Sign That?
Etiquette for Authors
Erotica is Serious Work
No Body Writes for Free...
Shameless Self Promotions
The Myth of Writer's Block


The Write Stuff
From Ashley Lister
The Time is Write
The Beautiful People
A Book by Any Other...
Synopsis: the Necessary Evil
Erotica or Porn?
Feedback Whine


2007 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
What's it like being a writer?
Blog
An Apology to Salespeople


Get All Worked Up
With J.T. Benjamin
About Secrets
The Perfect Fuck
About Choices
The Age of Consent
The Kingmaker
Kids and Sex
M.Y.O.B.
The Price of Beauty
The G.O.P.
All Worked Up About Hate
Real Men


Pondering Porn
With Ann Regentin
Good Sex: A Physics Lesson
Meet Frankenstein
Thoughts on the Orgasm Gap
The Very Bloody Marys
The Doomsday Erection
Online Threesome Porn

Get All Worked Up About The Age Of Consent
by J.T. Benjamin



There was a disturbing story that came out in my area last month. In a suburb south of Denver, administrators at one of the local middle schools discovered that students had been using cell-phone cameras to take and distribute suggestively nude photos of several female students, aged between twelve and fourteen years old.

As bad as the scenario sounds, it could've been much worse. As of this writing, it appears the photos were exchanged only via cell phones, and that they appear not to have hit the internet. It also appears that the only people involved were teenagers who attended the middle school; no adults seem to have solicited or taken these photographs.

As of this writing, the girls who were the subjects of the photos were reportedly induced to pose because of "peer pressure." Again, it doesn't appear anyone even remotely close to the age of consent was involved.

The school district is naturally encouraging counseling for the students who posed. The District Attorney's office for the affected school district is considering bringing felony charges against the students who encouraged and circulated the photos.

Let me first say that the only relatively good news I find in this story is that it could've been much, much worse. I've got two daughters that age myself right now, and a son who'll be entering middle school in a year and a half. (Not to mention another daughter waiting in the wings. Pray for me). I think (hope, pray) my kids are smart enough, self-assured enough and self-confident enough not to do that sort of thing, whether they're subjected to peer pressure or any other kind of inducement.

However, I'm also pretty confident that there are lots and lots of parents in that particular school district who had the same degree of confidents that their kids wouldn't get involved in anything so stupid, either. "Someone else might have problem children, but my kids are fine. They're upstairs right now, with their friends, being nice and quiet."

One of the most disturbing things about this story (ONE of them...) is the fact that the D.A. is considering charging some of these kids as adults. Since I'm a parent myself, I understand the concept of a "scare tactic." But there's a difference between "teaching them a good lesson" and "making them shit their pants." For these kids barely entering their teens, felony convictions, prison time, and spending the rest of their lives as registered sex offenders are now all on the table.

While I don't want to condone or excuse what happened here, we ARE dealing with underage children; people who, by definition, lack the capacity to adequately make their own decisions and to bear the consequences of those decisions.

So, whom do we blame? Who should be punished, and how severely? The girls for giving in to peer pressure? The other students who pressured them? The school district and the parents for not watching their kids twenty-four seven? How about society? That's it! We'll blame society. The internet, R-rated movies, Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue, Girls Gone Bad videos, and Janet Jackson, for good measure. Society's sexualizing our kids, right?

Well...

I'm all for the concept of an age of consent. Sex is loads of fun, FOR ADULTS. It's also a potential landmine of problems FOR ADULTS. It's very challenging FOR ADULTS to weave through such things as seduction, abuse, STDs, unplanned pregnancies, kinks, hangups, and other issues, let alone for people under the age of eighteen. I'm perfectly happy to stand firm on the notion that there are some things certain people (e.g. my kids) are just too young to experience yet.

However, I've known lots of people under eighteen who had a good grasp of what's going on sexually, and I've known lots of reckless, foolish adults. I realize that we need to draw a more or less arbitrary line saying, everyone on this side is a child, and everyone on this side is a grown-up. A person's eighteenth birthday is as good a date as any, I suppose. (It just happens to be the age of consent in my state. Other states have different ages, which, again, are as arbitrary as any other, so they're all for the most part okay).

I just have a problem with the presumption we tend to make that the age of consent seems to have these magical abilities. People under the age of consent are considered to be innocent, naive, ignorant, asexual blank slates, and then, once they turn eighteen, they magically are expected to have complete comprehension about all things sexual.

This, of course, is balderdash. Sexual knowledge, like any other form of knowledge, is a lifelong, ongoing experience. Children as young as two and three are aware and conscious of their sex organs, experiences, urges, and desires. To assume that if we try to prevent minors from any sort of sexual contact, experience, or education they'll refrain from indulging in those experiences on their own is a pipe dream.

And yet, the Powers That Be insist on moving forward with their "ignorance is bliss" mentality towards minors and sex.

There's been this movement in the news which allegedly promotes positive sexual mores, called the "Chastity Ball." Fathers and their teenaged daughters get all dolled up in their finest tuxedos and prom dresses and attend a gala event wherein they socialize and the daughters essentially pledge to their fathers that they'll remain chaste until marriage.

The whole thing sounds vaguely "yuggh" to me. Speaking as someone who's got two-going-on-three daughters in that age bracket, I'd rather not hear them promise me they'll never, ever engage in sex at all until their wedding nights. First of all, if they have half as much trouble as I had staying sex-free at that age, any "celibacy pledge" is a waste of breath.

Secondly, in my own humble opinion, the concept of the "Chastity Ball" does my daughters and myself a great disservice.

"Dad, I don't trust you and Mom to have adequately discussed with me everything I need to know about making my own decisions about sex, so I'm going to just promise to keep my legs shut tight until my wedding night, and from that point on I'll just wing it."

"Daughter, I don't trust you to be smart enough to consider the consequences of your decisions, nor do I trust myself to have adequately raised you to do so. I'll take your pledge at face value, assume the boys you go out with are absolutely nothing like what I was when I was their age, and I'll basically live in a state of denial."

If my daughters and I must exchange oaths about their sexuality, I'd rather they go something like this.

"Dad, I promise to act like a grown-up when it comes to sex, since I trust that you and Mom have done everything in your power to teach me how to do that, and I promise to come to you if I have any questions or concerns."

"Daughter, I promise to do everything in my power to create a relationship between us that enables you to act like a grown-up and to feel comfortable enough to talk to me about sex. I trust you to do what you feel is right, when you're ready."

"Wait a minute, J.T.," you may be saying. "You're admitting you don't care about whether your daughters are virgins on their wedding nights?"

Not exactly. I'm admitting that no matter how much I might wish it otherwise, my daughters' lives, including their sex lives, are not mine to control. I can do everything in my power to teach and influence them in the decisions they make, but I can't control those decisions.

When they DO get married, I want them to be confident, knowledgeable, and excited about their sex lives, and not scared to death about the prospect.

Ultimately, with my daughters AND with my son, I have to trust them. In other words, I have to let them grow up.

P.S. When my Lovely Wife read over the first draft of this column, she laughed out loud about how I promise to trust my daughters. "You've told them from day one about how you're going to greet boyfriends at the door with a shotgun! How can you say you trust your girls when you're threatening the boys they bring home?"

Simple, my dear. I DO trust my daughters.

I just won't trust those little shits who're chasing them. Who knows what'll be on their hormone-engorged minds?

Well, I'll know exactly what'll be on their minds. I was once that age, myself. That's the problem.

J.T. Benjamin
jtbenjamin.blogspot
April 2007

______
"All Worked Up" © 2007 J.T. Benjamin. All rights reserved.

About the Author:  J.T.Benjamin says, "I'm a generalist. I write about what interests me, which is just about everything." His resume reflects the diversity of his interests. He's been a disk jockey, insurance salesman, private investigator, journalist, college professor, child advocate, political activist, truckdriver, thief,...doctor, lawyer, Indian Chief. He's currently trying to start a hippie commune in the Denver/Boulder area.
Email:  J.T. Benjamin



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