Good news, parents: your teenage girls aren’t going wild. According to the New York Times, “in many ways, today’s teenagers are more conservative about sex than previous generations.”

This is being celebrated left and right (although not actually getting much play, so to speak, if only becase it’s apparently not very interesting), so while I hate to rain on anyone’s parade, what’s wrong with sex? I’m hardly going to be getting it on with teenagers at my age, but it’s not clear to my why less teen sex is clearly a good thing.

Of course, all sex is not created equal; I wouldn’t encourage anyone of any age to be indiscriminate (whatever that means to them) or to have sex when they don’t want it1. And I don’t think anyone should be engaging in sexual acts if they’re not clear on or ready for the consequences or if they’re at a place in their lives when it would probably be more of a bad thing than a benefit—conditions that are true of many if not most teenagers and of a smaller percentage of adults. But that isn’t what was studied.

The study was about sex (in particular, probably, intercourse, but the Times didn’t say). People start to have sex at puberty. Around 13, the child is a man or woman. Teenagers want sex. And by and large we give it to them: 31 states and the District of Columbia have an age of consent at or below 16. Many have “Romeo and Juliet” laws permitting activity involving only teenagers even if one or both is not ordinarily of legal age.

There’s nothing wrong with not having sex, of course (particularly, says the cultural narrative, if you’re female, but it’s a lesson that boys should indeed be getting in school). But teenagers who do aren’t being “rebelllious,” or showing signs of demonic possession, or embarrassing their families, or embracing pagan hedonism. Nor are they re-enacting what they see on TV or read in books or that garbage those liberal teachers are fillling their heads with. It’s natural.

1This cuts both ways, of course: you shouldn’t say “yes” if you don’t want it, but you also shouldn’t have sex with someone who’s reluctant no matter what they say.

Advertisements