Slightly off topic, but bear with me here. This deserves special notice. The Feds have now expanded the audience of their abstinence-only message to include unmarried adults up to age 29 according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
I understand that many people — especially parents — want their children to refrain from sexual intercourse while they are in high school. But to not engage in sexual activity until age 30? That seems more than a little preposterous to me (and to the rest of America; over 90% of persons in their 20s are sexually active). Currently, the average age of marriage for females is 25 and it’s 27 for males. This new policy really shows that the government is serious about its abstinence-only guidelines: that people should remain abstinent until marriage.
As a 38-year-old never married female, I have to admit that this administration would be disappointed in my behavior, so I am more than a little biased here. But I cannot imagine that very many people are going to take this suggestion seriously. And is it even healthy — not just physically, but emotionally and mentally — to not engage in sexual activity for such a long period of time?
If this sort of policy takes hold in our educational system, the Internet is really going to have to step up in its role as sex educator. With no information about contraception, STDs, or sexual pleasure reaching anyone before marriage through the schools or community programs (the elephant in the room, of course, is the assumption that somehow people are going to magically get this information on their wedding day), the WWW is going to become more heavily relied on for persons of all ages who want basic sexual health information.
I know a lot of places that are up for the task for teens such as Cool Nurse, Sex Etc., and Teen Wire but what about adults? Hopefully there are some great sites for them too as they are kept in the dark about even the most basic sexual health information.
Today “AsianPie” sent me a message asking me to join her group called Top Live Web Cams. And “Cool Girl” asked me to join Hot Chicks. Although flattered (how did she know I just turned 38 and realized I am staring 40 head-on?), I declined. Actually, I flagged her as Spam. And then there is poor Kristi. Last week she supposedly sent me an invitation to join Brunettes not Blondes; the message contained a picture of a young woman’s backside in a pastel pink thong, lying with legs splayed (I have no idea if the woman in the picture is Brunette, Blonde, or none of the above). Kristi later sent a message apologizing and saying “this is not a real group and I did not message you. some1 got my password and did this.”
So, with some sense of satisfaction, I denied AsianPie, Cool Girl and even Kristi the chance to have me as a member of their groups. I even called them SPAM and got to click “yes” when asked if I really thought of them that way. It may indeed be the first time that I got to reject a girl from the sexy crowd. It was fun to think of them as the artificial meat product that sits for years on grocery store shelves.
Maybe there is a lesson to be learned from these young women after all.
According to a survey conducted by CampusKiss 87% of its users have had virtual sex, with over half using IM (53%) but almost as many using a Webcam (48%) while 44% stuck to the technologically primitive telephone.
No, this is not the most scientific poll ever conducted, and yes, the 2,484 respondents are Canadian, but this glimpse into the sexual behaviors of young adults is interesting. It shows that cybersex is not uncommon and hardly an activity reserved for deviants. It shows that a heckuva lot of college kids have Webcams and know how to use them.
It shows that the US really needs to get its act in gear and collect similar data from our kids.
A recent article in USA Today profles a 17-year-old girl who has over 5,000 friends in MySpace.
It’s girls like Brittnie who give MySpace a bad rap. She admits she doesn’t know about 90% of the people she befriends. She admits she denies friendship status to anyone with fewer than 150 friends because it means that “no one likes them.” Actually, “admit” is probably the wrong word to choose here. In the article, it sounds more like bragging.
No one knows what friend collecting does to a teens’ self-esteem, understanding or appreciation of true friendship, or ability to form close relationships in the physical world. My hunch is that social networking can benefit all of these things, but taken to this extreme, it could be harmful. How does having thousands of “friends” who you have never met, and never will, encourage forming true bonds with those who really care about you? To me, it smells of a demise of intimacy in our culture that might impact the youth of our generation for years to come. Maybe I am overreacting — like I said, we have no data on the effects of social networking on friendships — but I believe that moderation and selectivity are the keys to successful relationships. Not collecting people as though they were stamps.