Trevor Noah is not COMPLETELY wrong here.
NOAH: “And I’m sorry, guys, but any parent who thinks their 17-year-old school’s assignment is too explicit, they need to check out his browser history, because trust me, he can handle it. It this shows you that the real dangerous ideology in society isn’t conservatism or liberalism. It’s helicopter parenting. An AP is basically a college course. How long will this lady be trying to protect her kid?”
He is pointing out that MANY (certainly not all) 17-year olds are, in fact conversant with what used to be called ‘smutty talk”. Most of them have heard of the words, and have speculated – privately, with trusted friends – about the activities (or, perhaps, less extreme ones) mentioned in the assignments. Among closest friends, this would not be unusual to talk about.
So, even though the numbers include those 18 & 19, STILL less than 1/2. And, that does not break apart those barely adult people who MIGHT be married. I would suspect that the percent of sexually experienced teens increases sharply with age. Which would indicate that LESS than 40% of American teens aged 17 have engaged in sex.
Are SOME of those students checking out porn sites?
Does that mean that all, or even most of them are engaging in similar activities?
Probably not. For some, looking will satisfy their curiosity. For some, the videos will lead them to experiment IRL and engage in sex. And for some, the raunchier videos will leave them thinking “Ewwww!”, and vowing to never have sex.
This isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. See the graphs at the link – from at least the 1950s onward, premarital sex was not uncommon.
Researchers looking at birth records compared to wedding dates for Colonial America noted that approximately 1/3 of the births were well short of 9 months after the wedding. So, Americans have always been relatively relaxed about sex between the unmarried, as long as the couple got married.
What’s the big deal with marriage?
It represented a commitment to financial responsibility for one’s actions. Even the Puritans treated a ‘rushed’ marriage as a relatively minor incident. The full fury of the community was reserved for those cases where the man in the relationship would not marry the woman when their transgression was discovered, when one of the two was married to another, or when a woman was intimate with more than one person.
A failure to punish such acts would create a breach in community relations and possible financial costs to keep the children from starving. Shaming those who failed to uphold the standards sent a stern message to others who might be doing, or thinking of doing, the same.
Now, did that stop the antics? Of course not. But, it did drive the flouting of established morality underground. Privately, you might be a rake. But, publicly, you went along with the crowd. And, if caught, you married the woman. That action, belated though it was, satisfied the group.
Similarly, young people might discuss the most salacious acts in private. But, publicly, they generally don’t (yes, there are exceptions). The school assignment forces students to talk/write about their sex lives (real or imagined) with classmates, in a public setting. Kids being kids, any discussion will start mildly, and – as others get more outrageous, and get public acclaim for their “honesty”, even those not comfortable with it start going along with the crowd.
Once someone has committed to public talk, they find it hard to reserve their private life to themselves. This is a ‘grooming activity’ – the predator gets a kid to say something, or view some mildly raunchy porn, and it spirals from there.
I am taking the time to spell out what sensible people already know, as it needs to be stated – this is designed to de-sensitize kids about adult subjects, talking about them in public, and doing so in sex-mixed groups. The more evangelistic(!) of the pro-sex teens will drive this the rest of the way. Failure to fully participate will lead to those teens being targeted – as prudes, as liars (because EVERYONE thinks/views/talks about sex), and as people who can be ridiculed and harassed without fear of consequences. Unlike a Muslim or Hindu who will display discomfort, the Christian will be coerced/forced to “lighten up” and join in.
Bravo! Beautifully put, Linda. I was particularly cheered to see this:
Indeed. The important thing was the willingness of the couple — particularly the man — to answer for the consequences. If she got pregnant and he was unwilling to marry her, that was cause for scandal.
What must be deplored and opposed is irresponsible sex: sex whose consequences the participants consider “not my problem.” If a pregnancy occurs, marriage and subsequent fidelity was once expected of them — as it should be. That this is no longer the automatic expectation is at the heart of our troubles with sex, but I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know.