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July 15, 2007

Sexy Teenagers!

Not to eviscerate my already non-existent family values cred, but who gets to decide that fewer teenagers having sex is a "positive trend?" If I were one of those sexless teenagers, I'd be writing an angry letter right about now. And how is the sex? The relevant measure isn't of its quantity, I'd think, but its quality. Is anyone collecting data on incidence of orgasm? Won't somebody please think of the children!?

The sex data, by the way, comes in sentence one of the article. It takes us till paragraph 3 to learn of the four percent increase in teenager's graduating high school. Gotta have your priorities, I guess.

July 15, 2007 | Permalink


One might speculate that less sex might correlate with diminished health. Loss of interest in sex can be a sign of depression or other maladies.

Makes you wonder where they expect the next generation to come from. Storks perhaps?

Posted by: Steve | Jul 15, 2007 8:02:30 PM

Won't somebody please think of the children!?

I initially read this as "Won't somebody please the children?" And my biggest problem with the "yay for less teen sex crowd!" is that it fails to differentiate between younger teenagers and older teenagers when (IIRC) recent research indicates there's no negative psychological impact on 16+s having sex.

Posted by: Isabel | Jul 15, 2007 8:05:33 PM

Makes you wonder where they expect the next generation to come from.


Posted by: Sanpete | Jul 15, 2007 8:32:40 PM

Clumsy adults.

Posted by: Ezra | Jul 15, 2007 8:38:23 PM

There's lots to be said in favor of experience, if it's the right/good experience [see post below, heheh].

Once again, the Swedes (Nordics in general?) have it right - channel youthful sexuality into safe and mutually agreeable sex. Nature gins up those hormones for some useful purpose, right?

And, I'm not sure the qualtity/quantity tradeoff is so clear cut. Some amount of quantity is probably a perquisite for a good quality - inhibitions and fumbling need to be overcome. And how would one know if the quality was 'totally awesome' unless one had some personal benchmarks for that measure.

Saying 'wait for the perfect match (to which you will devote the rest of your life)' is like telling a youthful Tiger Woods don't practice until you are ready for to enter the US Open. You have to practice your swing, right?

Sorry, Life doesn't work that (no practice, no experience) way.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Jul 15, 2007 8:39:05 PM

"If I were one of those sexless teenagers, I'd be writing an angry letter right about now."

Not to mention the angry letters from the non-teen partners of those sexless teens.

This is even worse than foie gras bans.

Posted by: Petey | Jul 15, 2007 8:53:21 PM

It's usually the losers who never got laid in highschool who think teenage sex is a sure sign of the apocalypse. There's nothing wrong with teenagers having sex. A lot of people have a lot of fond memories of teenage sex.

Sanpete: That's why humanity invented the birth control pill, the condom, and the abortion.

Posted by: Soullite | Jul 15, 2007 9:05:13 PM

Practice is good. That doesn't imply it should start at some particular age. Isabel points out a good way to try to deal with this, empirically, though it's hard to measure some of these things. In our culture where sex is sold in so many ways, it's unrealistic to expect teens not to have sex, but the greater dangers due to less maturity are hard to ignore. (Same with driving; teen drivers kill and maim far more than their share.) There was an interesting discussion relating to Jim's point here a while back. Trying to practice with numerous partners to improve the chances of a good relationship is probably misguided.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jul 15, 2007 9:05:52 PM

Sanpete: That's why humanity invented the birth control pill, the condom, and the abortion.

What is the "that" you're referring to, soullite?

A lot of people have a lot of fond memories of teenage sex.

And a lot have bad memories. Is that supposed to settle something?

Posted by: Sanpete | Jul 15, 2007 9:09:38 PM

Also -- have we investigated the new number of sexually active teenagers in respect to the odd or even nature total number? Could oldies just be replacing the teenagers who would otherwise be clumsily removing brassieres and cargo shants?

Note -- beware both oldies and cargo shants.

Posted by: Your friendly neighborhood virgin | Jul 15, 2007 10:53:28 PM

There's definitely something to be said for restraint vs. hedonism. But I wouldn't push that too far.

Posted by: Korha | Jul 15, 2007 11:32:32 PM

who gets to decide that fewer teenagers having sex is a "positive trend?"

The non-teenaged ones with clenched jaws and joyless eyes and hair that's never messy, I'd guess. At least, they think they get to decide.

Posted by: litbrit | Jul 15, 2007 11:36:28 PM

Doesn't "teenagers" include 18-20 year olds? Is a decline in their sexual activity a good thing?

Also, remember that the average age of sexual debut hovers around 15-16.

Sanpete: elderly drivers are also more likely to be involved with fatal auto accidents (1). The elderly can vote, but 16 year olds can't. Nobody's clamoring to restrict their driving privileges.

(1) http://www.luhs.org/depts/injprev/Transprt/tran3.htm#Older%20Drivers

Posted by: Wells. | Jul 16, 2007 1:45:26 AM

A decline among teens doesn't imply a decline among teens 18 and 19.

People do clamor to restrict the driving privileges of the elderly, for very good reason.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jul 16, 2007 1:58:04 AM

The main reason less teenage sex would be a positive thing is that teenagers aren't taught proper sex around these parts. It takes years of suffering to figure out what works and why.

Worse still, sex is extremely hazardous in this country -- leaving aside health issues, there's the possibility that you'll be caught. This can often become a legal issue.

One of the most annoying things that's happened to me at college is the night campus cops broke in on my girlfriend and I making out on a secluded bench. They shone flashlights on us and said they wanted to be sure we weren't up to anything. And we were adults! And our clothes were on! And it's a college campus.

Posted by: Mike Meginnis | Jul 16, 2007 3:08:04 AM

That's cute. But for another post, you might talk in your typical insightful way about the change in the age of menarche relative to current morality. A hundred years ago, the average age of menarche was 17 and the average age of marriage was 18. Relative to the onset of desire, sexual relations followed hard upon it. Now, with menarche at 10, do you really want kids having sexual relations at 11? Maybe our problem isn't moral at all. And maybe getting upset at the over-sexualization of our culture is blaming culture for a change in biology. Can we change biology back, so kids have a chance to experience something of life before they get stuck in endless permutations of A Midsummer's Night Dream?

Posted by: Paula | Jul 16, 2007 6:29:55 AM

San, I never killed ANYONE with my penis. Amazing how crappy your analogies always are, it's almost as if you're grasping at straw. Old people driving does not equal young people having sex. Not even kind of.

San; I was responding to your "Kids come from adults" quote...

And no shit you have a lot of bad memories, or you wouldn't want to ruin everyone else's fun.

Posted by: soullite | Jul 16, 2007 6:48:50 AM

"A hundred years ago, the average age of menarche was 17"

Almost certainly untrue.

Check your research.

There has likely been a decline in the age of menarche over the past hundred years, but the decline has likely been a pretty small fraction of your assumption.

Posted by: Petey | Jul 16, 2007 9:13:23 AM

I suspect the data is thrown off because they failed to survey my activity :D

Posted by: themann1086 | Jul 16, 2007 11:01:40 AM

I believe oral sex is much more popular today than in 20 years ago. I'm sure that leads to many teenagers putting off real sex for several months, more than enough to explain the small percentage difference.

Posted by: Mark | Jul 16, 2007 12:44:30 PM

I have to say as someone who was both having sex and driving drug at 17 (not at the same time), I worry a lot more about my kid driving than having sex. Teens in cars scare the crap out of me.

Posted by: Klein's Tiny Left Nut | Jul 16, 2007 1:34:23 PM

One of the most mind bending episodes of, I believe it was Hardball, was before the invasion of Iraq where Ann Coulter said in the same show that kids having more oral sex was a horrible thing, and that Iraqi kids being blown apart by US bombs was no big deal.

Now, when you were a teenager which would you prefer - having a cluster bomb fall into your living room, or getting head?

I can't even begin to explain how twisted that view of morality is without my brain imploding on itself.

Posted by: justaguy | Jul 16, 2007 3:24:17 PM

Soullite, as usual your comments are based in your imagination.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jul 16, 2007 3:28:52 PM

"and the average age of marriage was 18."

This is also untrue. The extremely low average age of first marriage in the 1950s were atypically low, at least by Anglosphere standards. A hundred years ago in the U.S. it was only slightly lower than it is today; in early modern England it was roughly the same as it is today (although we should take into consideration the fact that puberty was somewhat higher, albeit not as high as you claim).

Posted by: James Kabala | Jul 16, 2007 9:59:40 PM

Credit for this trend would probably belong AIDS education, no? (two birds w/ one condom)

Posted by: Sherwood | Jul 17, 2007 1:32:41 PM

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