First of all, thanks for your patience concerning my absence. I have flooded with grant-writing, but the overall good news is that I have had many successes. I hope to resume some semblance of regularity in posting soon.
Meanwhile, I have noticed that many comments have been posted on my blog entries as of late. They are not in English, so I honestly have no idea what they say. Using Google’s translating option, I tried to figure out their meanings — with little success. Of course, these posts are about sex; after all, this is what this blog is about! But my question always was: were these posts genuine, or created by a SPAM bot and filled with invitations to view adult-related material? There were times when I thought the former, but ultimately I decided they were more the latter. As a result, I have deleted most of these posts.
I bring this up, because it really posed an ethical dilemma for me. Do I assume the worst or hope for the best? Did I censor the disingenuous to create a safe environment for honest visitors, or by deleting expression did I shut down rarely-articulated dialog about an issue? Sadly, I will never know. But one thing I do know is this: the internet is a place where every language is spoken and all topics are discussed. At this point in time, however, my blog is not a specific outlet for certain people and I feel somewhat apprehensive about that decision.
Today, September 4th, 2009, the top question asked by kids on AskKids.com is “What is love?”
On a listserv comprised of the top sex educators and counselors in the US, if not the world, there is an intense debate going on as to the potential harm of sexting, More specifically, the discussion revolves around a case in which a teenager (read: a legal minor) is engaging in some form of sexting (not clear from the original post) with an out-of-state adult (again, age unknown, but not a minor). The simple question posed to the listerv: What should this counselor do?
Clearly, there is no easy answer. And thus the debate. Some say it’s a form of sexual abuse. Some say it may be harmless. Some insist on contacting Child Protective Services due to the poster’s status as a mandatory reporter, while others say no as there is no clear and immediate danger. One person suggests the minor contact a rape crisis center.
Others are asking whether there are any laws to draw from. Other than ones about distributing child pornography (which potentially would only get the minor, not the adult in trouble), we come up empty.
And, as I said at the beginning of this post, this debate is going on amongst the cream of the crop experts on issues related to sexuality. If they don’t know the answer, who will? How are we going to figure out the best way to react to this situation? Because it probably happens a lot. But is a sexting relationship between a teenager and adult as potentially harmful as a face-to-face one between the same parties? An intereting question to ponder, if only it were hypothetical.