Yesterday I appeared on NBC’s Bay Area TV. Before speaking on a panel about male sexuality (with Dr. Michael Bader and Pastor Kevin Barnes), I discussed various personal and political aspects of sexuality. See the clip here.
I spoke about the so-called “tragedy of sexting”—not the sending of photos, not the suicide of one girl harassed by classmates who saw her nude photo, but rather the actual tragedy—teens sitting in jail, convicted as sex offenders for youthful, if mean-spirited, pranks.
I reminded host Janice Edwards that America is actually safer for kids then headlines and the Sexual Disaster Industry warn. Edwards unintentionally did some of my work for me before we even started, opening the show intoning, “This discussion is about sexual concerns, and therefore not appropriate for children.”
“Why not?” I soon questioned. When she replied that kids might hear words like ‘masturbation’ (which I did utter twice, as one key to healthy sexual attitudes) and ask their parents about it, I said that would be great, not problematic. When she said parents might not be prepared to discuss such ‘difficult’ topics, I simply replied that most parents are never comfortable discussing sex with their kids, and must learn to discuss it when they’re not comfortable.
In general, all the erotic innuendo, energy, and depictions on TV—both programs and advertising—provide parents an unending supply of teachable moments. The primary reason most parents and all decency groups want to ‘protect’ kids from the stuff isn’t kids’ welfare, but adults’ anxiety.
It’s adults acting out that anxiety that is the biggest sexual danger most kids face.