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Old 05-22-2010, 11:03 AM   #91
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As you said, if it appears that teens are faced with purity rings or net porn...how can they determine when sex is just sex and when it forms part of an intimate relationship? How do they determine healthy boundaries?

as much as it shocks parents, most of these healthy boundaries and intimate relationship building are part of growing up. no one can do it for you. you can guide your child, you can make your values known, you can arm them with knowledge and condoms, you can tell them they will be ruined -- just ruined! -- by having sex. but ultimately it is their decision, and they are going to lean some hard lessons and there will be joy and happiness in there as well.

another uncomfortable fact is that most kids who do have sex in high school actually aren't destroyed for life by that fact. and the other thing is that -- extreme situations aside where we get sensationalistic stories about "blow job parties" or whatever ... and that goes back to 1991, anyone remember the "Pussy Posse" in San Antonio? -- when it comes to sexual relationships between teenagers, and those relationships end, it's often the boys who are more devastated and more prone to depression afterwards. girls have their friends, boys tend to be more alone.

and we haven't even talked about boys, and we're replicating the unspoken dynamic that sex is something that girls let boys do to them, and if we're to stop it, then we must make the girls stop letting the boys do it to them. and this is where i think Nathan made some sense as he was bringing boys into the equation.
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Old 05-22-2010, 11:51 AM   #92
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My comment was gender-neutral so be careful with your assumtions.

I am actually even more interested in the approach taken with boys to be honest.

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as much as it shocks parents, most of these healthy boundaries and intimate relationship building are part of growing up. no one can do it for you.
Aside from your conescending tone, it occurs to me that most parents take exactly that stance and I believe it can be problematic. In the same way that many view bullying in school as a part of growing up and they just need to work it out. Until a kid is dead.


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you can guide your child, you can make your values known, you can arm them with knowledge and condoms, you can tell them they will be ruined -- just ruined! -- by having sex. but ultimately it is their decision, and they are going to lean some hard lessons and there will be joy and happiness in there as well.
This is the part where getting away from vague generalities is helpful.

You mentioned broken hearts. Girls have their friends, boys tend to be alone and then are prone to depression.

So how do boys get better support other than to just say, well, that's just the way it is, they learn to cope through trial and error on their own.

That seems like a crappy approach with small margin for success on developing truly healthy attitudes towards women and sex.

If I seem testy, it's because I've not had my required amount of coffee this morning. Blood-caffeine levels are dangerously low.
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Old 05-22-2010, 02:31 PM   #93
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But I also think that in terms of healthy sexuality, knowledge goes above and beyond making good choices on STD/pregnancy protection.
Agreed, hence the Bono quote I mentioned. STDs/pregnancy protection are certainly part of the equation, but healthy sexuality is about more than just avoiding disease, isn't it? The whole notion of male sexuality and what defines healthy vs. unhealthy sexual expression is fascinating, particularly given that, for many (straight) men, the road to sex starts at a young age with porn. (Which is why the whole notion of "having sex like men" is particularly troubling.)

I like you without caffeine, Ali.
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Old 05-22-2010, 02:43 PM   #94
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i find this paragraph utterly confusing.
Someone more versed in Greek culture can probably explain it better -- much of what I know comes from two years studying Greek and C.S. Lewis' the Four Loves. The basic idea is that what we call "love" actually has four different expressions:

1. Phileo (philia) - friendship.
2. Eros - sexual love.
3. Storge - affection.
4. Agape - charity (or, for Lewis, the love of God for humanity).

Each has their place in a relationship, but each cannot replace each other. I think much of our cultural confusion in terms of "love" is in placing eros as the highest expression of love (or, as you've rightly pointed out, marketing the hell out of it), when the reality is that -- while Eros is important -- it isn't necessarily the chief quest of the human heart when it comes to "love," and reducing love to a sexual act somewhat misses the point.

Sex is important, but it has its place...
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Old 05-22-2010, 08:11 PM   #95
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The whole notion of male sexuality and what defines healthy vs. unhealthy sexual expression is fascinating, particularly given that, for many (straight) men, the road to sex starts at a young age with porn.
But what is troubling about this? I read somewhere or other than in certain parts of France, it is a tradition for fathers to take their sons to visit prostitutes to 'induct' them, as it were; is this also an unhealthy sexual expression, in your view? I think there is, potentially, 'good' porn and 'bad' porn. Which, granted, is a value judgement. These days there is porn specifically aimed at women for example. Actually my favourite bloggers on sex matters are women - I will not post the links, family forum and all that.

In Ireland there was a bit of a furore a few years back regarding young teenaged girls going to discos in certain (quite posh) districts of Dublin wearing no knickers, but I'm not convinced they learned this behaviour from watching porn, or for that matter, from sexually provocative celebrities like Lady Gaga - as as far as I can gather it was going on way back in the mid 1990s, long before the likes of Lady Gaga entered the building.
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Old 05-22-2010, 09:05 PM   #96
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I read somewhere or other than in certain parts of France, it is a tradition for fathers to take their sons to visit prostitutes to 'induct' them, as it were; is this also an unhealthy sexual expression, in your view?
How do you think that tradition helps boys develop healthy attitudes towards women and sex?
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Old 05-22-2010, 09:19 PM   #97
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How do you think that tradition helps boys develop healthy attitudes towards women and sex?
I didn't necessarily say it did, but, for the sake of argument, it teaches them an important life skill so there is no need for the usual teenage fumblings and embarassment, etc. I know what you're getting at - that it could potentially create an idea in their heads that sex can easily be obtained just by paying for it, and that women are commodities, but really, as against the US tradition of Puritanism that Irvine alluded to, or the Irish tradition of repressive Catholic guilt, I just don't think it's all that bad. And it goes without saying that my assumption is that in the French scenario the prostitutes are freely consenting to give a certain amount of their, ahem, time, in exchange for payment, which as far as I am aware they are.
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Old 05-22-2010, 09:28 PM   #98
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it teaches them an important life skill so there is no need for the usual teenage fumblings and embarassment, etc.
Ok.

How should girls be taught this important life skill to avoid fumbling and embarrassment?
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Old 05-22-2010, 09:50 PM   #99
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Ok.

How should girls be taught this important life skill to avoid fumbling and embarrassment?
I don't have an answer to that one.
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Old 05-22-2010, 09:52 PM   #100
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Everyone should be taught that the first time is going to have fumbling and embarrassment, not some flowery, exploding-fireworks magical experience.

I think that's a valuable piece of knowledge to have, so you aren't horribly disappointed and aren't in such a rush to do it.
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Old 05-23-2010, 01:39 AM   #101
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That seems like a crappy approach with small margin for success on developing truly healthy attitudes towards women and sex.


here's the problem: define a "truly" healthy attitude towards women and sex.

so we need to fix the boys. the girls are just fine? that seems to reinforce the notion that it's the boys calling the shots, very rah-rah, "c'mon guys, treat her right" ideas that assume that all girls want the same thing -- just a boy to love her. in my opinion, the thrust i'm getting from this thread is that girls want and need different things at differnt times in their lives, and the most liberated thing of all is not to be dependent upon man to give it to her. we're still playing into the "woman needs a man to be complete" idea.
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Old 05-23-2010, 09:27 AM   #102
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here's the problem: define a "truly" healthy attitude towards women and sex.
Yeah, it can be a problem given that it likely varies with different people at different stages of life. But perhaps in a simple form, it can be defined as the capacity to develop meaningful relationships and not exploitive or manipulative ones.

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so we need to fix the boys. the girls are just fine?
Wasn't suggesting that at all. We fuss a lot about what young girls are doing or not doing sexually, but not at all about young boys and the effect some of their early sexual development has on them later in life.

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that seems to reinforce the notion that it's the boys calling the shots, very rah-rah, "c'mon guys, treat her right" ideas that assume that all girls want the same thing -- just a boy to love her. in my opinion, the thrust i'm getting from this thread is that girls want and need different things at differnt times in their lives, and the most liberated thing of all is not to be dependent upon man to give it to her. we're still playing into the "woman needs a man to be complete" idea.
Can't say I agree that this is the theme of the discussion and not sure why you'd come to that conclusion.

But since you brought it up, if 90% of the time it's girls/women who do the breaking up, at the end of the day, who's calling the shots?

I'd venture to say most of those decisions are based on a lack of understanding and consideration of her needs (sexual just being one aspect). Both his lack of understanding, and HERS. And/or her inability to articulate her needs.
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Old 05-23-2010, 04:55 PM   #103
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A young man going to a prostitute for the first time-
it will get him initiated, but it won't do any more than that.

He will learn how to climax with a woman that will tolerate bad sex.
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Old 05-24-2010, 02:56 AM   #104
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I know what you're getting at - that it could potentially create an idea in their heads that sex can easily be obtained just by paying for it, and that women are commodities
This. Mostly the latter. A healthy perspective on sexuality might start with the notion that mutual gratification is the key. Many man could stand to learn this lesson. Commodifying women seems to miss the point.
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Old 05-24-2010, 08:55 AM   #105
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okay, Im staying away from men.
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