Tag Archives: teens

Why the Alexa Di Carlo Thing Matters

A wise friend once said, in reference to dating, “It sucks to put your trust in an untrustworthy person.”

Truer words could not apply to the Alexa Di Carlo scandal. I think this paragraph from Expose A Bro, the blog that is outing Alexa as Thomas “Pat” Bohannan, sums up the accumulated violations pretty well:

Bohannan wasn’t just harmlessly getting his kicks maintaining an anonymous blog where he could live out fantasies of being a desirable woman. He knowingly spread lies about sex work, advocated unsafe sexual practices, had sexually-inappropriate online interactions with underage youth, all the while passing himself off as an academic and trusted adult who is trained in human sexuality. (Refuted here.) He used bold-faced lies about his qualifications to try and discredit real sexuality activists, and laughed at their setbacks. He stole images from real models and passed them off as him– implicating these innocent bystanders as suspects in his activities. He bullied one activist by harassing her via email, and gleefully celebrated the demise of a valued sex workers rights publication, $pread Magazine. He threatened to expose another sex blogger. He purposefully mislead and misinformed his large online audience about important sexuality issues. He tricked escorts into talking to him and having sex with him by using “Alexa” to vouch for him as being a safe and respectful client. (More escorts are talking privately about feeling violated by having had sex with this con artist.) He ran a “sex education” message board where minors trusted him enough to share nude photographs of themselves.

Providing sex education for young people is difficult enough as it stands: dealing with fundamentalist groups determined to eradicate any talk of sex in schools, worrying losing your job for uncensored sex discussions, struggling for legitimacy in academia, making your voice heard above the din of bad advice from recognized experts and even defending oneself from personal character attacks.

So when someone makes a fake identity and starts doling out sex information using false credentials, this job gets much, much harder.

And when young people come forward about this person soliciting nudie pics from minors? Sheer litigious rage bubbles forth.

(I’m not even going to get into a discussion about the deplorable way Bohannan allegedly used the false sex worker identity to gain the trust of actual sex workers so he could employ their services. Wrong. Really, really wrong.)

There are some people that insist this person was never using fake credentials, simply mentioning living in San Francisco and going to some graduate program here.

No. I’ll just put that notion to rest with some screengrabs after the jump. Continue reading Why the Alexa Di Carlo Thing Matters

Retro Moral Panic: “Sexual Behavior Among Teen-Agers”

In the wake of graduation I started working part-time as a Personal Assistant and Organizational Consultant. Last weekend, one of my clients decided to purge an interesting and sizable book collection. The biggest perk of my work? First pick of the donation-destined books.

My client pulled a tattered, yellowing paperback from the shelf and grinned. “You might like this one from the 60s.”

"Sexual Behavior Among Teen-Agers"

My jaw dropped and I might have drooled a tiny bit. I tucked the book safely into my take-home pile, eager to peer into the perspective of 1960s psychiatrists and panicked adults.

Notice the newspaper clippings on the left? "4 Girls Held In Sex Orgy Quiz." Uh, woah.

Turns out, it’s the same tired tune sung by today’s pop-psychologists and panicked parents: Our girls are having sex! We must DO something! The fabric of society! Morals! Ad nauseum!

The book title says teenagers (er, teen-agers) but means young females. The entire book is about rising promiscuity among girls in the 1960s. Misleading title FTW.

From the introduction: Continue reading Retro Moral Panic: “Sexual Behavior Among Teen-Agers”

Linkage: An Economic Model of Premarital Sex

I love when disciplines converge in sexuality studies. Especially disciplines not traditionally associated with this field. Over at Vox, several economists analyzed the rising acceptance of premarital sex, though only among females.

The abstract:

“Attitudes to sex have changed dramatically over the last hundred years. This column presents a model where socialisation – the passing on of norms and ideologies by parents and institutions such as the church or state – is determined by the technological environment in which people live. Contraception has reduced the chance of unwanted pregnancies from premarital sex, and this in turn has changed social attitudes.”

A sample graph:
Notice the huge gap between acceptance and prevalence.
Also, only 4 days left to participate in my thesis. The process takes less than 5 minutes: http://www.slexiconproject.com
Thanks to Violet Blue for sending this my way!

Proposed Sexting Laws Solve Nothing

"So that's how Sally's breasts landed Quinn in jail..."

New technology brings new moral panics. Zippers on pants in the early 20th century scandalized older generations. (Easy genital access!) Cars created a moral panic among mid-20th century parents. (Our kids can have sex in those things and we can’t stop them!)

Cell phones and computers draw the same type of ire. The youth will use it for sexy stuff! They will be defiled! Panic!

So if new technology brings moral panics, what do moral panics bring? Stupid, stupid laws and court cases. First, prosecutors charged teens with child pornography for taking and sending naked photos of…themselves. As you can imagine, this didn’t go over too well.

Knowing that we can’t charge a “child” (is 16 really a child?) with pornographing themselves, several state legislatures created teen-targeted sexting bills. So, instead of a felony charge for the cock-pic, you may only get a misdemeanor in Ohio or Arizona if the sexting bills pass. A New york lawyer is seeking federal legislation on teen sexting. Vermont is the only state considering decriminalizing consensual sexting between teens ages 13-18.

Conservative Christian groups like the United Methodist Church are not happy about Vermont Senate Bill 125. Pat Trueman, legal counsel of the Alliance Defense Fund, says “It’s the only state in the union ever to consider legalizing the production of child pornography.”

[Point of order: a teenager is not a child. We make a distinction between children, adolescents and adults in our culture. Don’t conflate the terms for your own political gain. That’s just tacky. Not to mention dishonest and misleading.]

Everyone needs to take a collective deep breath and think about the right approach to a serious issue. We want to protect teens from making life-destroying decisions. High school is a tumultuous time and the mortification of nude pics passed around the school is very real and damaging. Recent sexting legislation debates in Ohio came about after 18 year-old Jesse Logan committed suicide after the colliding stress of a friend’s suicide and nude photos of herself circulating among other students at her high school.

But simply downgrading charges from felony to misdemeanor is not the answer. We are still telling teens that their sexuality is dangerous. This message we instill does not magically disappear when a teen steps into legal adulthood at 18. If we all agree that adults are allowed to sext each other even though it’s usually a stupid idea, legislative action against teens is the wrong move, especially considering how few teens do it in the first place. Teenagers are not the drunk, sexting, hormone-saturated maniacs the media portrays.

How about, you know, talking to teens? If you have not seen the LG teen texting safety campaign with James Lipton, go check out their “Give It A Ponder” website. (Or check out their collection of videos here.) This is a perfect example of non-punitive measures to deal with one aspect of this issue.

Beyond these PSAs, a good start would be open discussions with teenagers about sexuality, something that is confusing territory enough for adults. I spoke with a couple of high school students today about the sexting laws and one girl brought up an excellent point: “Say, like, a girl does it because she doesn’t want to have sex but she doesn’t want to be a prude. That’s not really fair that she’ll still get punished.”

That statement sums up the tightrope walk experienced by many teens. Do it, don’t do it, try to find an alternative that allows some degree of social acceptance, get in trouble all the same.

Thanks to @josephpred for alerting me to AZ Senate Bill 1266.

Research: The Abstinence Study is on Repeat

via photographyandmash.com/blog
This seems familiar...

I’ve already written an analysis on the “abstinence” study conducted by Jemmott et al. but when I did so, I had no idea that this was older news than most people realized.

Jemmott et al. already did this study. In 1998.

Violet Blue sent me a link to a findings summary from 1999 on Japan Aids Prevention Awareness Network . (Who is on top of her shit? Violet Blue, that’s who.) One of the articles, written by Mike Mitka, presented recent research on teens private sexual behaviors.

One of those studies was from none other than Jemmott and his Princeton team titled Abstinence and Safer Sex HIV Risk-Reduction Interventions
for African American Adolescents

All three investigators in the 1998 study (John B. Jemmott III, PhD; Loretta S. Jemmott, PhD, RN; Geoffrey T. Fong, PhD) conducted the recent Efficacy of a Theory-Based Abstinence-Only Intervention Over 24 Months.

Same academics. Same objectives. Same design. Same setting. Same population. The difference? Continue reading Research: The Abstinence Study is on Repeat

Teens Delay Sex. So What?

Grab Ass: The Newest Alarming Teen Sex Trend.

A recent study found that abstinence programs may delay the onset of sexual intercourse. I imagine we’ll see a big hoopla and debate surrounding these results because they contradict other assessments of sex education programs.

Abstinence supporters will see this as proof that AOUM (abstinence-only until marriage) programs work, opponents will point to other studies to prove AOUM programs don’t work. Who is right? It all depends on the definition of “work.”

Continue reading Teens Delay Sex. So What?

Advice: Parent-Teen Sex Talk

Accusatory, Alienating Sex Talk: Ur Doin' it Rite (Image via Time.com)

Yesterday a parent contacted me online about finding a condom in his daughter’s bag. (I wish I’d asked what he was doing in her bag in the first place.) His reaction was pretty standard fare: anxiety, fear, urge to intervene.

What really got me was his gendered reaction. His *daughter*, little girl, a female had condoms. She wants sex and is preparing for the encounter. Teen girls feel the sting of regulation far more than teen boys. Maybe because we imagine females as delicate creatures we exert more control over their lives as they develop into adults. Protect them from the evils of the world, namely the uncontrollable sex drives of young males.

Here’s the deal: teens don’t need protection. They need advice. They need support while they navigate their way into adulthood. Sex can really confusing for teens in a world that silences advice and offers sex-saturated images around every corner for consumer titillation.

Do you have a kid? Please talk to them about sex. You don’t have to launch into lectures about safety or ask probing questions about their sex lives. Just talk about sex calmly when it comes up. Our culture is obsessed with sex. media sex scandals or new research will give you plenty of opportunities. Otherwise, you will wait and avoid these talks until you find a condom in your kid’s bag and have no idea what to do.

The Dad who contacted me felt this dread anxiety of talking to a teen about sex. A transcript of the conversation and my advice for him after the jump. Continue reading Advice: Parent-Teen Sex Talk

Fear of Teen Sex

Rainbow Parties: One of many sexual urban myths. I woke up this morning with wicked stuffed sinuses and headed to the gym to try and run from the sickness. My mode today is sloth and I stepped on the treadmill just in time for midday trash TV. Nestled in between CNN and Martha Stewart was Maury Povich and his headline scare topic of the day was teen sex parties. Sorry, make that, TEEN SEX PARTIES: AN ALARMING NEW TREND.

This is not new and endemic to the current generation. Continue reading Fear of Teen Sex