Is it a sex blog? A mommy blog? A bitch & moan blog? Um, . . . yeah. This is my place to be totally honest. In my real life, I feel like I'm always lying to somebody about something. Here, I am totally honest. Brutally so. However, no matter what bad things I say about my kids, I adore them and would never ever really, say, sell them on Ebay. The husband, often referred to as Spousehole, is another story. Oh yeah - if you are under 18 (or if you are my husband), please leave now.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

When Is It Sex and When Isn't It?

Editor's note: This is kind of rambling, a stream-of-consciousness thing. It's not totally coherent, but here it is anyway.

I had a conversation with a teen girl this week that has bothered me ever since. I've read about how kids these days are having oral sex fairly young and even that some are having anal intercourse, all in an attempt to retain their "virginity," ie, being able to tell mom and dad (or whoever) that they haven't had sex because they haven't had vaginal intercourse. As I said, I've heard and read this in the media, but the conversation I had with this girl this week was the first time I heard it from the mouth of a teen I know in real life. It scared me, because I suspect she is pretty typical.

This girl called me because she wanted to talk to an adult who wasn't her parent or from her school or in a position of authority at our church. She chose me because I've talked to her a lot (just casually before this) and she knows and likes my husband. She wanted to talk about what counts as sex and what doesn't.

Apparently, it is quite common for kids as young as middle school/junior high age (!) these days, even in my very conservative midwestern city of residence, to do "everything but" and tell themselves and others that they are not having sex because they haven't had vaginal intercourse. Let me tell you something: if you are having oral sex or anal sex or bringing one another to orgasm in some other way, you may not be "having sex" but you are sexually active without a doubt. And whether or not vaginal intercourse is part of your activities isn't really an issue. You are sexually active. You need to take precautions against disease and pregnancy. (Because yes, you can get pregnant without "putting it inside." What do they teach these kids these days???) You have to deal with pretty much all of the same feelings and emotions as if you were having vaginal intercourse. Feelings and emotions that you may not be ready to handle.

If you have signed one of these "purity" pledges, you have violated it, even if you haven't had vaginal intercourse. You may still be technically a virgin, but you have violated the spirit, if not the word, of the pledge. (Not that I think these pledges are a great idea to begin with . . . ) If you are totally honest with future partners (and I believe one always should be), you will need to tell them that while you are technically a virgin you have done all these other things.

I'm not saying that these kids should just go ahead and have vaginal intercourse, since they're doing everything else. Far from it. I'm saying that if saving sexual activity for marriage is a priority, you need to back way, way off from what you've been doing. Wait until you're out of high school (I know - total hypocrite), until you are a bit more mature. Until you can see that what you've been doing IS sex, even if not everyone defines it that way. Look at it this way: if your parents would be horribly upset to find out you had done "X," it's probably too much.

I walked away from that conversation (which I will not relate the exact specifics of here) possibly more confused than when it began. (I'm pretty sure I came off as more together and coherent than I do here and I think I helped her. I hope I did.) I am a total hypocrite, as I said. I had intercourse in high school. I had intercourse before I ever had oral sex, if you can believe that. If someone asks me for the number of partners with whom I have had sex, assuming I choose to answer, I give them the number of people with whom I have had intercourse (yes, it's still a small enough number for me to keep track). So I guess I define "sex" as intercourse too. But if you ask how many people with whom I've been sexually involved, it's way more than that number. But when does it count? Oral or anal sex - definitely counts, right? What about mutual masturbation? A handjob? Fingering? Touching one another through clothes? Dry humping? Touching each other above the waist? Kissing? Thinking sexual thoughts while looking at one another? Phone sex? IM sex?

When do you consider that you "had sex" or are "sexually involved" with someone?


Flyinfox_SATX said...

I am looking forward to these talks with my daughter. The way I see it, if they are nude they are sharing an intimate moment. I am trying to teach my daughter about intimacy.

If she is giving or recieving oral sex, if they are having anal sex...they are being intimate. And I feel that it should be taught that once intimacy is broken..really virginity is broken.


Loving Annie said...

Good Wednesday afternoon Bunny.
Good post. Disturbing topic, because kids are too young - for many reasons, not the least of which is emotional - to be having sex. Any kind of sex. I think until they have at least graduated High School..
The ignorance, the lack of knowledgeabout what makes you pregnant, the overwhelming shock of finding out you are pregannt if you only used the "hope" method, well, the consequenxes are just too great.
Your body is still that of a child. Even if you think you're an adult, you're not.

I had sex for the first time the night of my High School Prom... I'd never done anything before kiss, mouth to mouth before that. And I was pretty disappointed, because I'd expected fireworks and stars and it wasn't like that at all. I'm just lucky I didn't get a disease...

I know kids grow up quick today. But oral and anal count, just like vaginal does. Let's not be playing Bill Clinton word games. Sex is physical intimacy, period.

I miss the good old days. Sigh. The world has changed almost more than I can keep up with. If I was a parent, it would terrify me. My huge empathy to those that ARE parents and facing this with their kids.

Loving Annie

RONJAZZ said...

Excellent thoughts here. You know, it's quite akin to the man who thinks that fucking isn't fucking until he orgasms...then he's fucked her. It's crazy. We all know it's sex, pure and simple. What's missing is not necessarily their innocence (although God knows, that is so missing these days)... as much as the teaching of sexual responsibility...even at junior high age. Having never been a parent, I know that this is easier for me to articulate than others. Hell, I don't want to see it either, but we do. So we may as well do our best to keep them safe. Not hidden. This from someone who lost his at 14.

You are a new discovery for me, my dear. I invite you to read me as well.

~d said...

I like how flyinfox related sex and intimacy and then virginity.

I had NO IDEA kids were having anal sex...(like 'that' much!)

I have several other things to say-but my KIDS are calling me.


Sue said...

I'm with Flyinfox. He said it better than I could.

Dates Bubbas said...

So it's basically, "Oh, he/she's my boy/girlfriend and my spouse doesn't know, but we're not sleeping together so it's not cheating." Same idea. WTF?

I like Loving Annie's statement about Bill Clinton word games. It all counts. Sticking fingers in orifices, putting tongues somewhere other than your mouths, masturbating each other... the rest of us consider these things FOREPLAY, and they're all intimate. It's not just penises and vaginas together in sweet harmony.

And we wonder why kids are confused! Oh, and there are kids as young as 9 or 10 getting it on. Gotta wonder where *their* parents are.

G-Man said...

Jesus...what a bunch of angst over nothing!
If all of this crap is true, then what about Masturbation?..Trust me, if you are whacking off 5 times a day, or rubbing out 2-3 'tension releases' a day, you are very much having sex!!
Sex is beautiful
Sex is awesome
Sex is a natural part of living.
Way too much Catholic Guilt being handed down to us from the 4th Century....
You can't get pregnant from a blow job, or a hand job!

ATLLG said...

Wow, I really don't know where to start... as a parent of multiple kids (girls and boy) I can only say...BE A PARENT, COMMUNICATE, BE HONEST. If you can't DON'T HAVE KIDS AND BECOME A PARENT. Otherwise you may find yourself in line with others at the clinic or on television. Nice. OK that was my normal blunt self.

Bunny, at least YOU were there for this young woman. Good Karma.

ArtfulSub said...

Gosh, I've heard that, heard that, heard that, heard that, heard that...

Usually in the context of "So, the taxpayers must spend 500 Billion to teach the politically-correct and government-approved definition of sex".

Nevermind that we "graduate" 300,000 High School Seniors per year with English skills that are inferior to Fitty Cent. And are "computer literate" in the sense that they have an X-Box.

And all we really need is Bunny's wise wise words:

"If it would horrify your Mommy and your Babydaddy, it's probably too much".

Dave Carrol said...

I had this discussion with an engaged friend yesterday actually!

I think lots comes back to... (from the Christian perspective at least)... if you're stirring up emotions that you won't be able to fully satisfy (and still be right with God).

Within marriage... EXPLORE AWAY... but it's hard enough to stay pure and be able to give yourself fully to your spouse to mess around.

Em said...

It is so hard to decide how to define sex...but easier to define being sexual. All of these, from blow jobs to fingering to anal, are all sexual activities. Intercourse is not the same as is just one way to express yourself sexually.

At least that is what we tell our kids. But damn, it is hard to be a parent sometimes.

bdenied said...

damn and most of us thought if our spouse walked in while we were getting a blow job or going south for the evening on the girl they would say, "Honey I'm home,have you two benn doing anything interesting?"

Trueself said...

I guess I grew up in the world where sex meant genital to genital contact. Hands (and mouths I suppose) could be applied liberally to most places on the body and still not be considered sex. (Yes, I'm the female Bill Clinton). Heck I even had a youth minister that told our youth group (in answer to a youth's question) that only intercourse outside of marriage was a sin. Touching was okay. He didn't go down the path of kissing/licking/etc. Of course, as a teen the thought had never crossed my mind that people would put their mouths down there. (Yes, I grew up as a poor small town Midwestern girl that didn't have a clue about life.)

I think the missing piece is that we talk to kids about "Don't have sex" but we don't go further than that. We don't explain what that means because we're embarassed or whatever. We should be talking to them about respect, respecting their bodies, and minds, and emotions, and respecting other people's bodies, and minds, and emotions, and teaching them that it doesn't have to be "sex" to be harmful or wonderful that it all has to do with the motivation behind it.

My, I do ramble on!

craig andrew said...

From my perspective, it is an issue of addiction. We now know that our brains release drugs into our system when we orgasm; with men it is a downer, and with women it's a stimulant (answers a lot don't it?) And, scientists believe that addiction to these drugs play a role in developing our attachments(just a piece mind you); committing ourselves to the person who gives us our fix. So, for me the question is, when do we allow ourselves to become addicted, and who do we allow ourselves to become addicted to.

If are too promiscuous, it is like being a crack addict roaming the streets, your life completely consumed with the pursuit of the next fix, selling your soul to any stranger that says they can help you, and becoming vulnerable to evil characters who have no problem selling you a dose of Drano instead.

However, we can also be too prudish and never enjoy the healing and relationship building powers the drugs have when used properly.

But, what is properly? Unfortunately, I believe "properly" is something every person has to figure out for themselves and all we can do is give kids as much information as possible, and share as much of our experiences as possible (when the time is right, which is when they ask seriously), so that they can make as sound a decision as possible for themselves.


crse said...

See, Im with the intercourse definition just because back in my day VERY few people would use the phrase (I had "sex" with him/her) unless it was intercourse. In fact, until ole BC's shit hit the fan, I only knew about two people who defined it that way. And it was outside the context of a religious discussion. Even the bragging. You would say "I blew him" or "I got a blow job". Like a bragging fellow might say "she didnt have sex with me but at least i got a blow job". My own religious perspective is that im not really quite sure why certain sins are emphasized by churches and certain sins are ignored. In fact, some of them are barely mentioned in the bible (homosexuality) and people jump on them. Others are mentioned over 20 times (judging others) and we dont really have a "not judge" campaign. I understand the health care perspective of this but acting like its a bigger sin than other sins just seems hypocritical.

What I appreciated most about this post was that i really didnt think you were being hypocritical at all! You seemed to be going for the logic "ok if you think a means b, well it doesnt. And if you are ok with a not meaning b thats fine but wanting a to mean b wont make it so". I love that kind of logic!

Sassy Momma said...

I actually look forward to this talk with my daughter. I was given the "Don't come home pregnant" sentence, that's it! I hope to provide her with more insight and assistance with these things then I was given.

I think about it like this if you wouldn't do it (whatever *it* may be) in front of your parents or God then it's probably not in your best interest to be doing whatever it may be.

Granted, I wouldn't have sex in front of my parents but I have sex in front of God every day(well, not every day) but I'm an adult and married now. Okay, so maybe I need to rethink my planned talk but naked and touching is being intimate.

Sandy said...

As a high school teacher and someone who works at a boy scout camp I am very familiar with this conversation. It is scary. I tell them (depending on the situation and how appropriate it is... at school I mostly have to refer them to guidance...) an orgasm is an orgasm is an orgasm. If there are two people in the room (consenually) and at least one of you has one than that is sex. It affects the brain the same way regardless of penetration. The boys usually look mortified that I (a upper 20 year old) said the word "orgasm." Boys handle relationships differently than girls, but I am surprised at the symmetry of the self lies on this subject. I don't know where they got these ideas. Maybe the whole "Safe Sex" concept. There is no such thing as safe sex, physically or emotionally...