Rightside-Sex and Selfies

We Have A Conditioning Problem That Tells Young People That Decorum And Discretion Have No Place In Today’s Society

To dispense with any deciphering on your part, the following paragraphs will be about the sexual morals of teenagers, which I’m told is in great decline. This is a popular concern of many parents, school administrators, those of the cloth, and also those running for political office on the platform of righting the Ship of Hedonism. It was also a major concern with Elvis. Back in 1955.

 First, a bit of an analogy from my days as Mr. Weatherman. Time and time again people would ask me why we were having more tornadoes and the like, because, well, just look at the television and all those people who lost their houses. These Chicken Littles never seemed to consider that a few hundred years ago no one was living in all those places with all those tornadoes, therefore weren’t able to tell anybody about it. There’s a saying about a tree in the woods, I believe.

 Which brings us to the supposed debauchery of today’s youth. Given that the sexual drive of human beings hasn’t changed much in … ever, could it be that in this day and age of “Look At Me,” which is enabled and encouraged by social media, that all this fornicating is nothing new, and that it’s simply the tornado that now has a witness? That all the age-old sexual desires of hormones-gone-crazy are not being encouraged, but simply revealed? I’m not sure how far those answers lean toward yes, but I do know we’re in new territory now. The fact is we do have an issue with how kids nowadays define popularity, their methods of striving for it, and what that could mean for their futures.

 Many moons ago, mommy and daddy, who were thinking about sex all the time, weren’t surrounded by it all the time. The best they had were magazines and the occasional VHS tape that were sought with great determination. But, that’s all changed. It is available to anyone with an internet connection, and those connections stay quite busy. Sex sells. Yet, not only does it make money, it also generates great interest. For a teenager, that may seem dangerously alluring. Whatever generation we call teens now (Gen Selfie?), the barometer of popularity is no longer simply being homecoming king or queen. It’s the number of likes, comments, etc. It is self worth through the approval of a digitized mob. If a 15-year-old girl knows that posting a picture of herself in an outfit that would embarrass Kim Kardashian will garner lots of “likes” and plenty of fawning comments, the temptation is strong.

 The good news is that teen pregnancies are at their lowest levels ever reported in the U.S. The bad news is that we have a conditioning problem that tells young people that decorum and discretion have no place in today’s society. We haven’t opened Pandora’s Box. We have simply invited everyone in. Capitalizing on this are the money changers in the temple of innocence who spray youth with sexualized lyrics and imagery better suited for a Hugh Hefner publication. The result for some is the turning of teenage sexual impulse into actions many will regret later.

 In addition to them being taught the perils of pregnancy, teens also need to be taught that sexually transmitted diseases aren’t the only things that can last forever. Sex videos may work well for C-level celebrities, but not for job applicants. Lingerie looks great in Victoria Secret catalogs, but we throw the magazines away. When kids forward pictures of the girl in algebra in her dainties to their entire contact list, that can last forever.

 Sexual drive and the struggle with how to deal with it at a young age will never change. But our duty as parents and society is to teach kids that responsibility nowadays goes well beyond condoms.

Dave Parker hosts The Dave Parker Show on AM 790 WNIS weekdays from 10 a.m.–noon. He can also be heard each afternoon on US1061 and reached at dparker@wnis.com. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two daughters.

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