Is Your Teen or Tween Having Oral Sex?
by Jodie Lynn
My 13-year-old daughter was caught having oral sex on the school bus. Her counselor says it happens every day. Why didn't any of the parents know and what should we do?
Mom and Dad don't want to talk about sex, they don’t want schools teaching it either, so kids turn to each other, and what they get is misinformation. Hardly a surprise when they are curious and no one in a knowledgeable position wants to share due to embarrassment or a belief that lack of knowledge equals lack of opportunity or desire.
We have been trying the "just say nothing" approach for a few decades now in the US and it isn't working. We teach reading, writing and arithmetic in a desire to turn out well-educated people. We teach them that drugs and alcohol are dangerous to them. We offer
Drivers-Ed so they can be safe drivers. Yet we teach them nothing about sex and hope it turns out okay. If you ask a teenager, they will tell you "oral sex" is not sex in the sense that it is not intercourse. We just tell them not to have sex and in their minds, they are not. In fact, as far as they are concerned it is no big deal. Not a whole lot different from kissing or holding hands with someone you like. They believe that oral sex is totally safe and you cannot get a disease from it. You can catch any number of sexually transmitted diseases including Aids from oral sex. Maybe we should teach this in grade school rather than skirting the issue and hoping it doesn't come up. - Darla Cook in St. Louis, MO
From Jodie: There's a shocking report coming to light through a recent survey done in a joined effort by People Magazine correspondent, Betsy Gleick and NBC commentator, Katie Couric. After contacting Marnie Perez, at People, she was kind enough to respond to my questions, in which many parents may be shocked in learning the stats of the poll.
However, to those of us who know what really goes on, it's not new news at all. However, I still commend those who are willing to bring it out in the open, but I have no idea why they began with the age of 13 when oral sex begins much earlier. As young as 11, girls in a desperate attempt to be popular provide oral sex to boys.
This report stresses that oral sex is considered nonchalant and not really sex at all and continues into a full sexual relationship later in high school.
The sad thing is that the school not only does not report certain activity on buses, field trips and inside school facilities, but many feel like most of the time they are not worth the fuss and concern parents feel... what?
Wait a minute! If my children get in trouble for whatever they are involved in, someone from the school had better step up to the plate and let me know about it.
When you go into your parent/teacher's conference, which should be in a few weeks, please ask if there is anything that your child has done, said or been called on the carpet about that you need to know. No, say, "I'd like to know about all incidents with my child. Whom do I contact to get copies of those reports? In the future, please call me
*Note: We have been working on this column for a little over a year when it first came to us from a distraught parent. When we saw that Katie Couric and People Magazine was running a commentary and story on it, we invited them to review "where" this was being done and to also share that many of the teens we talked with said that a new heightened awareness of oral sex being portrayed as not real "sex," was due in large part from the blue dress incident with Bill Clinton.
"If he can do it, get away with it and society shrug their shoulders and even continue to highlight and honor him today, it must not be that big of a deal," was a common response among the teens we talked with.
Are they right? Did the dirty laundry of the former president influence our kids?
"It's all anyone could talk about for months and months," says one teen. "The scandal not only validated that it was the cool thing to do, but it also proved popular in the lyrics of songs leading to plenty of additional 'daytime skin' in videos and magazines designed specifically for us. It scored big time and is still cool right now."
We also found out that many times, if kids were caught at school, on the bus or on a field trip, it was not reported to parents.
Wow, it kind of takes your breath away, right?
While we would like to give Katie and People Magazine credit for a "one of a kind" survey and teen interview/talk show, that's just not the case. However, it's great that they have brought the topic to life on the Today Show.
Working together is the only way we are going to help each other impact society and help our kids. In fact, In The Mix, is a TV show that has been helping teens with perplexing questions for a few years now. Sue Castle, PBSKidsTV, Executive Producer, has her own 411 program. Check out www.inthemix.org for more details.
Another website, http://pbskids.org/itsmylife has questions and answers for tweens, ages 9 to 11, that are offered to kids and by kids, as well as experts.
Stop, look and listen to your children. It's what I've said for the last 15 years. Listening is one of the most under used tools parents have. It's free, simple and builds mutual respect and that's mostly what they want -- respect.
"Don't allow networks, magazines and Hollywood educate our kids!"
If I am not mistaken, doesn't People magazine contribute to the media frenzy of who's doing what where and what sexy piece of clothing they are wearing? Aren't they the ones who make one of the biggest contributions to showing off the "hotties," poisoning the minds of our teens by profiling who's hot and who's not? Don't they help to flair the fuel of fire in today's society with being thin, tanned and talented with photographs of individuals in bare skin encased in too short to sit down skirts, tight fitting plunging necklines and too low for any cute butt jeans?
Why would People Magazine ever think anyone would take them serious on a teen sex survey in the first place? Why would Katie Couric ever pair with them? Why would they think that this is a landslide first of a kind survey in the first place? Where have they been for the past five years? - A Group of Moms from a Mom Teen Support Group
I believe more needs to be added to the comments regarding children's sexual behavior on a school bus.
Failing to educate children on sex is only a small part of the problem. Constant exposure to movies and television shows that depict casual sex as acceptable, even desirable, create an atmosphere where this type of behavior is considered the norm. To that attitude, add a child’s emerging sexuality and natural inquisitiveness. What we get is a powerful combination that foments sexual activity on a school bus, or any other place that provides an opportunity for experimentation.
It is up to us parents to make sure our children watch only entertainment that is wholesome and confirms family values. Otherwise we relinquish our parental responsibility to the networks and Hollywood. - A mom, Katherine
Jodie Lynn is an internationally syndicated parenting/family/health columnist. Her latest paperback book is Mommy-CEO: 5 Golden Rules, 2001 revised edition, which covers family and health. Check out the new Mom, CEO totes, cups and T-shirts on the http://www.parenttoparent.com website and order yours today. They are beautiful, practical and washable. Come on moms -- tell and show the world who you are -- don't be a distressed housewife - be a CEO of your home and personal life! Lynn originated the terms Mom CEO, Mommy CEO and CEO Mom in 1989 and all of their implications of "striving balance in the lives of moms/women" in print since 1996.