When I was growing up, we learned about sex from nasty graffiti on railroad bridges and sewer drains. If we were really lucky, we might find a stash of mildewed rain-soaked Playboys by the creek in the woods, where the teenaged boys snuck off to drink their father's beer. Our education was limited to crude drawings with arrows pointing to "pussy," which was always a large scribbled triangle indicative of the natural bush stylish in the day.
And if the characters and diagrams prompted questions, we'd sit with our older neighbors in the doghouse and they'd answer them for us from their vast encyclopedic knowledge gathered from fifth-grade Health class. Later, there was Cinemax, but it was cryptic and bugged with first-generation cable static. We were forced to fill in the blanks, and we relied on love scenes from Dark Shadows and General Hospital for reference. There was romance in that.
My kids, however, have grown up in the era of RealWorld hot-tub threesomes and streaming porn. Even their cartoons contain pornographic references. As hard as I have tried to limit their access to inappropriate stuff online, I know they're smart and resourceful and that kids will look diligently for anything they can find on the subject of sex. And these days, what they can find is prolific, explicit, and hyperbolic. It is polished, plastic, and scripted. It lacks heart, soul, and imagination, not to mention pubic hair.
I worry that my girls will feel pressure to "perform" and that my boy will expect every girl he's intimate with to have a pierced clitoris and breasts like Jenna Jameson. I worry that they might not experience the honest, clumsy contact of making love and true intimacy.
This article I came across in Salon today spoke to my fears. Mary Elizabeth Williams said everything I've been thinking for the past few years. Click here if you're interested.