The kids are all right

Two third graders were caught engaging in sexual activity, right in their classroom. Is the sky falling or just some cute little Garanimals pants?

I was a virgin until I was 19.

While I took to sex like a slutty duck to warm jacuzzi water, once I did try it I was the last of my friends to do so.

By that point, the act had been so built up that I was nervous. Everyone was talking about it. Everyone had done it. What if I didn’t do it right? What if I did and it was still terrible? What if rom-coms were right and there were only two options: extreme displeasure (oh, no, he di’int!) or immense pleasure (oh, yes, he diiiid)? Was there a door #3 where normal people had sex and just felt normal? I knew next to nothing beyond what I had seen in movies/read in books/gleaned from conversations while attempting to look like an educated woman of the world. So I just avoided sexual contact altogether.

Sure, there were makeouts, and had been, since I was a freshman in college, but they never went beyond lips and tongue and, OK, fondling (but always over the clothes and only above the waist, thank you very much). I was afraid that anything beyond that would signal the point of no return and I’d feel bad about not going through with the actual humping1, so I always put the brakes on:

I had to get up early. I had a headache (18 is not too young for this!). I had my period. I’d run away, straightening my ever-present Mickey Mouse sweatshirt2 as I escaped.

So, I wasn’t just “technically” a virgin, the way that kids do nowadays, right after they won’t get off of my lawn, but an actual virgin. My girlparts had never known boyparts–and neither had my other parts.

But now I have two teens and from what they tell me, the sex stuff (this is what hip people call it, right?) is a little more complex. According to my offspring, girls are known for what they will and won’t do sexually (mostly will), and boys are assumed to do everything offered to them (though I know this isn’t true). Is the challenge of navigating the pitfalls of sexual culture too much, or are our kids up to it?

At an elementary school in Louisiana, a teacher has been fired because two third graders engaged in oral sex under one of the tables in her classroom. The Huffington Post reports that the teacher was in the classroom at the time, and the students are now receiving counseling.

The students’ ages aren’t mentioned in the article, but I assume that they are in the 7-9 years-old range that typically makes up third grade. Perhaps the counselor they are seeing could get to the bottom of where kids their age learned about oral sex. Parents? Siblings? Friends? Internet?

Not that I didn’t see genitals when I was young (OK, I didn’t, but people I knew were showing each other at that age according to stories they tell now), but it seems like there is a difference between healthy curiosity and sexual activity. I don’t think that even if I had seen a penis at that age it would have occurred to me to put my face near it.

But the comments on the article are somewhat alarmist about “kids these days,” and I don’t know that is necessarily warranted either. Yes, an eight-year-old in 2012 has, most certainly, been exposed to many, many more messages about sexuality (and everything else) than had an eight-year-old in 1980. Welcome you to the future, come on in.

This could just be a case of one of the kids hearing somewhere that it was fun to do and trying it out. It could also be a case of the teacher turning her back/leaving the room/checking her text messages just long enough for this incident to occur.3 If so, then I suppose that this is just one of those things. I don’t know that kids who played doctor are any more sexually dysfunctional than those of us who were repressed by the church or our parents into thinking that we’d burn forever if we touched our own (or others’) junk.

Let’s not panic just yet. I suggest we wait for this generation to start running the world before we jump to any conclusions about how they’ve been affected by the information overload. Odds are they’ll be advanced in every way, and the sex stuff will just be a part of that. After all, even a good girl like me was well advanced compared to the kids of my mother’s generation, and we’re running this thing like gangbusters. Finances? Politics? Religion? We slutty ducks got this (God help us all).

Now go out and teach your kids where it is and that it isn’t okay to expose their genitals. While you’re at it, instill the importance of pulling up their pants and listening to good music. So help me, if we end up with a President who busts a sag and possesses a nostalgic love for Nickelback, I will be hunting one of you down.

— ∮∮∮ —


  1. Don’t worry, there was plenty of “We can’t stop now. It’s not good for guys to keep it in, you know.” in my future. And I fell for it. Take notes, boys. 
  2. If you’re still wearing Disney clothing you probably shouldn’t be getting pounded. 
  3. How much time could it take? They didn’t go on a date where she pretended to laugh at his jokes, and he pretended not to care that she ordered the lobster. 


Photo by: sarahstierch

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The Checkout Girl

The Checkout Girl is Jennifer Lemons. She’s a storyteller, comedian, and musician. If you don’t see her sitting behind her laptop, check the streets of Richmond for a dark-haired girl with a big smile running very, very slowly.

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