DEAR STRAIGHT TALK: I checked a link where teenagers ask questions to each other. From what I read, I suspect my 15-year-old daughter is performing oral sex on boys. What is the best way to talk to her about this? — Torrance, Calif.
Editor’s Web Note: Lest you think after reading today’s column that every teenager engages in the “modern goodnight kiss,” please calm down. While oral sex is more common, less shameful, and occurs at younger ages than even the recent past, the only really solid sex study is from Guttmacher Institute with data limited to 2006. Other recent surveys tend to be media-originated and use sloppy data-gathering methods and I suspect their main purpose is to increase ratings. An infamous sensationalism was the “rainbow party” publicized on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2003, which created panic among parents and only later was learned to be false.
What is fact is that the average kid starts viewing pornography at age 11. Today’s sexual revolution is definitely driven by Big Porn. The industry influences some girls to put out in formerly unthinkable ways. And for some boys to expect that. Yet for all this conditioning, I’ve never met a morally bankrupt teen. Boundary-less, yes, but not bankrupt. The more children are valued at home, the less they need to prove they are lovable, or studly, elsewhere. Teens crave open, safe, non-judgmental dialogue about these topics with parents and mentors. It really is the best way to influence them. And if you don’t do it, Big Porn will. — Lauren Forcella