# 5 - Sexually active youth

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Youth is sexually active


Youth actually is sexually active. In our society, over-filled with sexual images and scenes - if not at least an obsession - this not seen as a sign of natural development, a right or a joy, but as a problem. Just this vision raises problems. There are better visions. 

First main articles

(1) There is a fury and and sadness inside that I cannot express - By Classically Liberal, Free Students Blogspot September 16, 2009

 I saw an image earlier today, while reading an article that someone suggested to me. That image broke me down emotionally.

(2) The Criminalization of Teen Sex - Derek “The Fallen One” Logue
August 29, 2008, Update March 18, 2010

The criminalization of teenage sexual behavior has become a disturbing trend in our predator panicked society. We are simultaneously obsessed with sex and horrified by sex; our laws reflect this panic. [...]
This mentality has led to disastrous consequences, destroying the lives of many teenagers by placing them on sex offender registries for life!

(3) Criminalizing Teen Sex - Age of Consent - Niki Delson, BBC News, May 31, 2007

Sex! We are obsessed, stimulating ourselves through the media, exposing ourselves to non stop sexual images, using sex to sell everything from shaving cream to children's underwear. [...] Our obsession with and horror about sex, have paradoxically generated both great sexual freedom and draconian laws which unfortunately have several (largely unintended) negative consequences. 
Legal age of consent is out of sync with normal sexual development and adolescents are given conflicting and many confusing messages about sexual behavior. [...]
In this article I will examine the first of these consequences in greater detail.

Selected articles A: Sexually active youth as a problem 

The problem here is that 

(a) at least some Western societies, especially the English-speaking of them, observe and acknowledge that youth actually is sexually active, but that they label this fact mainly or only as a problem
(b) which in turn actually creates problems, for example for gay teens. 

A-1. Youth actually is sexually active 
Some facts and figures

A-2. Gay Teens 
Especially gay teens have problems with growing up along the lines of their personality. For them, even parental love might be conditional instead of unconditional. 

A-3. Sexting 
This new word refers to the wide-spread phenomenon of teenagers exchanging photos, including nude photos, with their cell phones, and spread them quite widely. Others spread the sexual explicit pictures further on the Internet. This is, again, seen as a great problem. 
This vision implies the criminalization of the act, thus criminalization of youth, which actually implies harming youth. 
Levine writes: "Maybe all that bullying is a mirror of the way adults treat young people minding their own sexual business. Maybe the "issue" is not sex but adults' response to it: the harm we do trying to protect teenagers from themselves."

A-4. Complaints 
No joy about the naturalness of our youngsters, no: lots of complaints about their growing up ... as sexual human fellows, often biologically already adults. Growing up as a problem ...

Selected articles B: The reactions of society 

Society, at least the Western one, reacts with panic, rules, laws, convictions and registers. 

B-1. Don't touch! 
First reaction: panic and rules: 'Don't touch!' No hugs! Not any bodily contact! 

B-2. Laws 
Next reaction: panic and laws, made by legislators who want ... to gain more votes ... with laws that actually do not protect any youngster but are challenge to them.

B-3. Convictions 
Next reaction: convictions according to those laws, that actually harm often quite young people. 

B-4. Registering 
After conviction: registering of quite young people ... for life ... Thus: no further education, no job, no house, rejection, banishment and ostracism. 

B-5. 'Treatment' 
Treatment might be a better answer than conviction and registering ... if what is labeled 'treatment' actually is treatment. Often, it is not. Mostly, it is only a harsh way of control, and 
"severe overcrowding, with teenagers sleeping floors; nonexistent educational opportunity; nonexistent mental healthcare or rehabilitative programs; isolation for over twenty-three hours a day for months straight; use of excessive force, including beatings and pepper sprayings; and inappropriate administration of medications."

After a real treatment, so is proven, the recidivism is low. 

Selected articles C: Maybe a better reaction

C. Education 
Also education might be a better response, but also here, we met the same problem, that 'education' is not always 'good education'. If education is only aimed at abstinence and virginity, it does not work. Only a real, honest and open education does have any positive effect. 

Selected articles D: Research

D. Research 
Research is able to give counter balance to and may correct some dominant views and notions about youth and sexuality. Research, mentioned here, actually shows that early sex does not make young monsters, but rather may be seen as a benefit for youth. 

Selected articles E: Other Visions

E. Other Visions 
There are other visions, better visions, that advocate ethical treatment, compassion, open education, more freedom and more rights for our youths. A look to a quite 'dutchy' country and culture, the Netherlands, learns that compassion, open education and more freedom leads to a happy youth and to less teenage pregnancy and so to less abortions and less venereal disease. 

Fouth main article

Racism, Justice and Age-of-Consent Laws in America; The Case of Genarlow Wilson; David Rosen, www.counterpunch.org, August 14, 2007

"America has long been scarred by racially-motivated miscarriages of justice, especially those rooted in white fear of interracial sex between a black man and a white woman. The case of Genarlow Wilson recalls this long history of injustice. [...] The American court system is a conservative social institution."
But there is resistance, and some things are changing now. 

Fifth main article

Trashing Teens - Psychologist Robert Epstein argues in a provocative book, "The Case Against Adolescence," that teens are far more competent than we assume, and most of their problems stem from restrictions placed on them. Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today, 2 March 2007

Psychologist Robert Epstein (RE) spoke to Psychology Today's Hara Estroff Marano (HEM) about the legal and emotional constraints on American youth.
"All of these systems isolate teens from adults, often in problematic ways."
"The more young people are infantilized, the more psychopathology they show."

Read more

Youth and Sexuality - Ipce's page in the Register by subject for Library 1, 2 & 3.
Keyword: Youth - keyword page in Ipce's Library 4.

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