I gave my first blowjob when I was 14. And back then, blowjobs hardly ever made the evening news. We had to figure out what it was all on our lonesome.
If blowjobs had enjoyed the media profile they do these days, I too might have gotten an earlier start.
Which is why I’m a little baffled at people’s shock and outrage that girls ages 12 and 13 are supposedly handing out blowjobs like candy, according to a recent Globe and Mail feature that got everyone’s knickers in a twist.
“In many circles, oral sex has become almost as normal as acne or homework or cafeteria gossip,” says one social worker in Sara Wilson’s article, “Good Girls Do” (The Globe and Mail, February 7, 2004).
Two paragraphs later, a female student guesses that about 10 per cent of her all female Grade 8 class performed oral sex regularly on boys. I’m hoping more than 10 per cent of kids are doing their homework. I know for sure more than that have acne. But why let reality get in the way of a nice titillating story?
The other big shock? It used to be just the slutty girls that were doing it. Now, even “good girls” are willing to give it up, and often without expecting any return on the favour.
That part’s a little annoying, but then again, think about it: We areway more casual about blowjobs in our culture. (We all know at least one American President who was getting them in his office, for instance.) On the other hand, there isn’t even a slang equivalent for cunnilingus. And have you ever tried performing cunnilingus in a bathroom stall?
But beyond practical considerations, the assumption is that these girls wanted the favour returned. Who knows? If you’re giving a guy a meaningless blowjob, maybe that’s all you want out of the encounter. Maybe, rather than seeing it as a submissive act, these girls really do see it “no big deal” as some of them said, or, as others saw it, a powerful thing (“doing, rather than being done”).
According to another social worker quoted in the Globe article, girls are more aggressive than ever when it comes to voicing their sexual wishes: “I know what I want and I can get it.”
The case that brought this whole “phenomenon” to the media’s attention was that of Cass Rhynes, the 19-year-old baseball player who went to jail for 45 days for receiving oral sex from two girls aged 12 and 13. He thought they were 14, the age of consent in Canada.
But guess what? One of the girls in PEI testified that Rhynes was reluctant and she forced herself on him.
We’re still not comfortable with girls being the sexual aggressors. We still rely on girls to be our social sexual barometer. I mean, why aren’t we scolding boys for not refusing oral sex? Were these guys just standing around when girls’ mouths happened to fall on their dicks? Interestingly, not one BJ recipient was interviewed for the article.
People are primarily freaking out about the young age of these girls performing oral sex (again, no one seems concerned that the boys are too young to receive it). In response to the Globe feature, one reader wrote that he felt kids are becoming sexually active “too soon.”
If only someone could decide exactly what age was appropriate this would all be so much easier. As it is, that age is assigned arbitrarily depending on where you live.
And in some parts of the world, 12 and 13 is hardly “too soon.”
I’m not totally naïve. I do realize that there are emotional repercussions to our sexual behaviour at any age.
But young people are sexual, and possibly at a younger age (though I suspect this has always been going on, we just didn’t write big newspaper features about it). So rather than sit in horror and shock at this “deviant” behaviour — as Margaret Wente called it in her disturbingly alarmist column in response to Wilson’s feature — wouldn’t it be wiser to get real?
The Globe article places blame on “an atmosphere in which sex is a commodity to exchange for status, while overworked parents and school systems are often less than available to help kids interpret messages they are receiving.”
Excuse me, but it’s not like they talked to us about it when they were available.
In fact, it’s today’s parents who might have the real advantage here. As Laura Wershler, a sexual health advocate in Calgary and a member of Mad Moms Against Bad Sex Ed, said in yet another follow-up article to The Globe piece, “this generation of parents may be uniquely positioned to help their children navigate the complexities of sex. We probably have greater knowledge and experience than previous generations. The trick, she says it to push ourselves to be more candid.”
And that’s a biggie. Most adults would rather sit around freaking out about how our sex-charged culture is corrupting our children than do the work it takes to deal with their own sexual hang-ups and talk frankly and openly about what’s going on in their kid’s lives. I’m not saying you have to hold her hair back for her while she goes down, but putting aside an assumption here and there might not be a bad idea.
For instance, why do we automatically assume that having a dick in her mouth lowers a girl’s self-esteem? Truth is, we don’t know how all this “fly-by fellatio” will affect these girls. I mean, I grew up to become a sex columnist, but I doubt those early blowjobs are to blame. In fact, I feel like a pretty well adjusted human being. And if anything, I think my early exposure to sex gave me a healthier attitude about it. I enjoyed it before anyone could tell me it was bad.
Maybe there will be a study in 10 years proving the serious long-term negative effects of giving blowjobs at age 12. Or maybe we’ll just have a generation of women who are really good at giving head.
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