Tuesday, 22 July 2008

'Mr Sex': a load of balls

If you’re British, I don’t need to tell you that we have the worst teenage pregnancy record in Europe. You only have to turn on the telly in the morning and watch a couple of teeny window-lickers having a row with each other and screaming "Ah want DNA TEST, TRISHARR!" to know that something has gone incredibly wrong somewhere.

(Incidentally, I can’t wait for the day when Trisha opens an envelope and says ‘the results of the DNA test have come in, Darren – and they say that you’re actually an orangutan’. But anyway)

So, what’s to be done? Well, we could nick a fairly new-ish idea from America, like we always do: Purity Balls. No, it’s not a new kind of chastity belt for teenage daughters – although after you’ve read this, you’d might rather wish it was.

Randy Wilson, co-inventor of the Father-Daughter Purity Ball, offers a blessing: he calls on the men to be good and loving listeners, tender, gracious and truthful. And he prays that the girls might "step into the world with strength and passion, to lead this generation.”

That’s nice.

When Kylie was 13, her parents took her on a hike in Lake Tahoe, Calif. "We discussed what it means to be a teenager in today's world," she says. They gave her a charm for her bracelet--a lock in the shape of a heart. Her father has the key. "On my wedding day, he'll give it to my husband," she explains. "It's a symbol of my father giving up the covering of my heart, protecting me, since it means my husband is now the protector. He becomes like the shield to my heart, to love me as I'm supposed to be loved."

Ooer. The alarm bells are starting to ring.

After dinner comes the ballet performance, when seven tiny ballerinas in white tulle float in; then seven older dancers carry in a large, heavy wooden cross, which they drape in white, with a crown of thorns. Four of the five Wilson daughters are among the dancers, and they offer a special dance to their father, to the music of Natalie Grant: Your faith, your love And all that you believe Have come to be the strongest part of me And I will always be your baby ...

The alarm bells have melted into a molten lump of metal.

Now, I fully admit that I’m not a Dad, but if I was lucky enough to have a daughter as young as four in my life, I wouldn’t be spending vast amounts of time and money worrying about her losing her virginity. And is it just me, or are the fathers who are the most overtly protective of their daughters usually the biggest shitbags on the planet?

Not so long ago, Oliver North posted this load of wank on his website. That'll be the same Oliver North who trafficked coke and weed into America and sold arms to Iran in order to fund a bunch of right-wing nutters in Central America, and is therefore extremely well placed to give people a lecture on morality. Soz, mate, but I could spit-roast your daughter in an Osama bin Laden costume while she’s giving the corpse of Ronald Reagan that I’ve dug up and propped on your front garden a nosh, and I could never come anywhere near the badness you inflicted on the world, you twat.

Because here’s the thing; most women lose their virginity when they decide to, whether if it’s because they’ve met the right bloke or because they just want to get it over with. The problems only occur when they decide to lose it too early, and when they’re not fully armed with the basics of protecting themselves. And laying a mammoth guilt trip on your daughters just because you acted the cunt back in the day and you expect every other male to be as big a shag-rat as you is a recipe for disaster.

(another take here)

21 comments:

Trixie Firecracker said...

If you Brits try this Purity Ball thing, that would be such a bad idea. And besides, I think the United States has a higher teen pregnancy rate than the U.K. Go figure. What is it about English speaking government officials that make them so squeamish towards sex?

wishingstar342 said...

My goodness that is so sick and disturbing. Why would anyone do that to their daughter? Furthermore, why is it only father-daughter and not mother-son as well. I don't agree with it but it's weird how it's so one-sided. Smacks of incest.

Clair said...

Ugh. Religion, eh

Lily Lane said...

AAAAaaaRRRRGHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Couldn't finish linked article. Too disgusted /angry /FURIOUS /sick /disbelieving/ MAD!!!!!!!!!!

Rob The Geek said...

Holy crap that is so disturbing!

When will people learn there is NOTHING wrong with teen sex?!

The only thing wrong is UNPROTECTED, FOOLISH, UNEDUCATED teen sex.

But no, we will never reach the point where teen pregnancy actually falls because we are all too fucking worried about talking about such a *naughty*/*taboo* thing. "oooo its embarassing"

Take some fucking responsibility parents!

I have heard too many people say "Oh its cool, we didnt need a condom, shes on the pill"
or
"I was gonna pull out at the last minute"
or
"I blame the schools"
or
"I thought cling film would do it"

OK, the last one was a joke, but I bet there is some moron somewhere who has tried it.

Its not down to the schools to tell your kids how to fuck safely. Its down to them to educate them on maths, science, literature etc etc.

PARENTS should tell there kids. ALWAYS use protection, NO MATTER WHAT (even if she on pill, even if you think you cum like a pro and only save it for her face). Its these stupid kids and parents why Pregnancy AND STDs/STIs are constantly on the rise. Dont forget, pregnancy is NOT the only concern here!

Christ like a geek like me doesnt have enough to worry about with when it comes to getting laid!

End rant. That is all.

Ys said...

My parents always always told me to use condoms. Even before I was even thinking about sex they always preached the same three words: use a condom.

I'm from Wales where we have the worst teenage-pregnancy record (aren't we the ones who make the UK the worst in Europe?). I've always been iffy about religion preaching sex education. I am very religious but I don't believe God will send me to hell for having sex with the man I love. And I wouldn't want my kids being taught that crap. If people just talked about sex openly then there wouldn't be a problem. These silly gimmicks, like this Purity Balls thing, just makes it worse.

Maybe we should just start handing out free condoms at schools to every one over the age of ten. A bit presumptious, sure, but at least those ones having the sex will be doing it safely.

Kiilas said...

In my opinion, purity balls is a counter movement in response to the ubiquitous promotion of sex in popular culture. Purity balls movement started before introducing government-sponsored abstinence education in the States. Purity balls started in 1998 and the abstinence education in 2000.
Ironically, last year the number of teen pregnancies in the States was on the rise for the first time since the seventies. It's due to the fact that the promotion of abstinence in school means that teens are not told about protection. These 7 years have demonstrated that schools have actually no influence on when people start to have sex. But since they are not told about using protection then they just have sex without it. I think family has more influence on children than school. So I think purity balls definitely have more impact on girls than schools. But I think there's the same kind of controversy. What if the girl changes her mind for some reason and decides to have premarital sex and both school and family have avoided talking about protection. That puts her in even greater risk of catching HIV or getting pregnant.
When young girls have sex then it's because they have weak ties with their parents, so they're looking for closeness by having sex. They also have low self-esteem which they are trying to compensate by looking for validation from guys.
I think underage mothers are characteristical to underprivileged families and communities which are left behind by the rest of the society. These girls have no aspirations - they don't know what's possible to become in the modern world - so they turn to their most primitive insticts which is to mate and pop out babies. I think it's no coincidence that Gloucester MA, where 17 high schoolers made a pact to become pregnant, is a town where the traditional industry, fishing, is on the decline and unemployment is high and therefore future looks bland. I think, when there's a wave of teen parents in a particular community, it gives us a glimpse to what the decline of civilization looks like. They go backwards while the rest of the world goes forward.
Kadri - your female reader

Marc-Antoine said...

YS

I am from Montreal, and through all my teenage years, we've been given at school, in parties, in gigs, in hospital you name it... free condoms... I think this helped me and many other people to understand it was what we needed to use to protect ourselves... and mostly, when you're younger and warned not to have sex, the only way not to get caught by parents is to be protected enough not to have any problems related to the sexual act!

Anonymous said...

What kind of parent wants to hold that kind of control over their daughter?

A possession to passed from father to husband.

How a mother can stand by this kind of relationship between father and daughter defies me.

badgerdaddy said...

Kiilas... "When young girls have sex then it's because they have weak ties with their parents, so they're looking for closeness by having sex. They also have low self-esteem which they are trying to compensate by looking for validation from guys."

I'm really not sure where to start with that. It's a bit on the general side stating that this is why it happens, isn't it? I mean, why not go the whole hog and say it's just the kids from 'broken homes' that are out there humping?
Some people just want to have sex, and the urge is pretty damn strong when you're young and the hormones are raging.
Just saying, like.

Anonymous said...

*Shudders*

That is deeply, deeply disturbing. I would write about my feelings on abstinence only sex education, but everybody else seems to have just about covered it.

I believe that the European country with the lowest teen pregnancy rate is Holland, which has comprehensive, compulsory sex education which starts at about age 8 I seem to remember. I wonder if the two facts are linked...

Kiilas said...

Badgerdaddy, you're talking from guy's point of you. Girls don't have strong sexual urges in their teens. Teen girls may want to kiss and be touchy-feely with guys, but not necessarily full on sex. When young girls have sex they just give in to the pressure from guys who desperately want to have full on sex since guys "are young and their hormones are raging". At what age teen girls give in to that constant pressure from male peers depends on their level of self-esteem. And the level of self-esteem depends on how tight the girls are with their parents.

Kiilas said...

Badgerdaddy, I also wanted to add that yes, I do believe that it's just the girls from 'broken homes' and underprivileged households that are out there humping. The same does not go for teenage guys. They are out there humping (or would like to be) regardless of the state of matters at home or social class.

Rachel said...

As a woman who vividly remembers her teenage years I'd just like to disagree with kiilas' statement that girls don't have strong sexual urges in their teens. I sure as hell did anyway, that's for sure! Oh, and my relationship with my parents is just fine, thanks.

Silicon Limey said...

>Girls don't have strong sexual urges in their teens

Utter tosh. Children of both sexes are aware of urges from very early on. They night not understand them, but then that's what sexual education is all about - giving the information so they can make their own choices properly.

This guy however - http://www.mirror.co.uk/most-popular/tm_headline=teenager-to-marry-her-50-year-old-ex-teacher-lover&method=full&objectid=20668856&siteid=115875-name_page.html - needs his nuts removing. How interesting that he's an RE teacher...

Lily Lane said...

I want to second Rachel by totally disagreeing with kiilas.

I am twenty years old, so my teenage years are hardly long forgotten. I have been having sex since I was 16 years old and have had more sexual partners than most women my age. You know why? Because I love having sex.

My parents are married. We are an upper middle class Australian family. I have had (and continue to have) an excellent education. I have had part-time jobs for years. I have lots of friends. I have intelligence in many different fields and I am healthy and attractive. There is absolutely nothing disadvantaged about me or my life - in fact I am a model of someone who has everything to be thankful for. Including a fun sex life.

Young girls having sex if they want to is not backwards - it's forwards. The fact of whether I choose to have sex or not, or with how many people, is not what sets me ahead of the pack. It is the fact that I do it on my own terms, with a full understanding of my own worth, that of my partners, and our responsibilities. Give young people the knowledge and tools they need to have safe sex and teach them personal responsibility and then we have progress.

Maybe these purity balls will prevent an unwanted pregnancy or two. The method is still regressive.

These balls are a repulsive reinforcement of attitudes that should have been long dead by now. The idea that a girl's virginity is not her own but belongs to the men in her life. The idea that her choices about her own body are not her own but belong to the men in her life. The idea that sex is dirty and if she does it then she will no longer be "pure". The idea that a girl is a precious object waiting to be sexually consumed and defiled, instead of an independent being who is equally capable of consuming and entering into mutually beneficial sexual relationships.

These backwards ideas are repressive and repulsive. Little children are being asked to take these vows, before they are even likely to have discovered masturbation and before the law even recognises them as being able to understand the difference between right and wrong. This alone should be evidence enough that Purity Balls are sick.

Rob The Geek said...

@Lily Lane

Very, very well said!

Kiilas said...

I agree with Lily Lane that purity balls are a disturbing phenomenon. I just argued that it's how parents cope with the ubiquity of sex in pop culture. In my mind, both are extreme.

In this clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylTh3gdjhtE) Dr Miriam Grossman, a campus psychiatrist at UCLA, says that when a woman has sex a hormone called oxytocin is released in her body. Oxytocin is the same hormone that is released during child birth and breast feeding and it creates feelings of attachment and trust. Not everybody, but most girls, develop feelings of attachment when they have casual sex, so there are emotional repercussions for them - some evidently need counselling afterwards. Dr Grossman also says that the younger a girl is the more immature is her cervix and that makes her more vulnerable to infection, so in her opinion that's a medical reason to wait until the end of high school.

Most of the kids that have been born to my friends were born due to a broken condom. So condoms aren't entirely safe to prevent pregnancy, HIV, not to mention that condoms don't protect against STD-s. Condoms only decrease the risks.

Thirdly, some women are constantly on the pill when they are having casual sex. But do they outrule long-term relationships? The thing is that we are hard-wired to look for partners that are immunologically dissimilar to us. That makes the kid's immune system tougher. And the way we recognize members of the opposite sex who are immunologically dissimilar to us is by smell. But being on the pill harms a woman's sense of smell and she might start a long-term relationship with someone whose immune system is not compatible with hers and when she stops being on the pill, chemistry and attraction vanish.

I'm not in favor of abstinence only sex education, I just think that casual sex is not harmless and that girls deserve to know the repercussions of starting too early and the repercussions of casual sex.

Rob The Geek said...

@Kiilas

I applaud you for the amount of technical knowledge behind your post, you have obviously studied this a lot..

But, and forgive me for being blunt. All the science and study of hormones, phermones, the Ramones or any other "ones" doesnt detract from the one simple fact that people sometimes just want to get laid..

More then ever sex is more in your face. Its not about "looking for a mate", as a young person its more about just having sex! "S/He is hot, I want some of that". And afterwards I want them to leave!

And this sort of casual attitude to sex that a lot of the "older" generations just dont seem to get. Its not about being "slutty", "sinning" or whatever, its just SEX!

I think the main point here is that parents are trying to control something that they cant. Its a basic human need/want. Stop trying to be controlling and start to take responsibility for the fact that its your job as a parent to PREPARE them for the big wide world.. Not try and change the world they live in to fit your own personal ideals.

Truth is, most parents that step up to the plate and do this, dont have the problems. Its only becoming such a problem because no one does.

Alan said...

A genuine conversation which occurred between myself and my daughter, about six months ago, shortly after her nineteenth birthday.

"Dad, I want to ask you something, and I want you to promise not to be cross."

"I can't promise not to be cross until I've heard what it is, but I'll do my best."

"I want to know how I would go about contacting a family planning clinic."

"I take it this is pre-emptive."

"What does pre-emptive mean?"

"What do they teach you in schools these days. It means before."

"Oh. Yes."

"So what made you think I was going to be cross with you for wanting to be sensible."

This, to me, is a healthy relationship between a father and daughter. Purity Balls, not to put too fine a point on it, just sound like a whole lot of Balls to me.

Rob The Geek said...

@Alan

This is EXACTLY what I am talking about. There is no replacement for good parenting.

Well done that man!