Sex education is no choking matter

Choking is big, apparently. Until recently, to me as an oldie it mainly just meant extreme danger when food gets stuck in your windpipe and you could be dead within minutes if the airway stays blocked.

It still has that primary meaning, of course, and the idea that anyone would simulate such a thing deliberately, for sexual excitement, strikes me as utterly insane in the most basic root meaning of that word: from Latin insanus, from in– “not” + sanus “healthy”. Choosing to put yourself at risk of immediate death is most definitely not conducive to good health, right? And as a mental attitude it is daft, barmy, silly, stupid… Do I make myself plain?

So when a Gen Z friend told me the other day that it is definitely common now among young heterosexual couples, it’s a good job I wasn’t eating breakfast at the time or I would probably have choked on my cornflakes. For me, it was one of those “Has the world gone mad?” moments. Admittedly, I had heard about sexual choking, but imagined it to be a fringe BDSM thing, with few devotees. I could not have been more wrong, as confirmed in a simple Google search that uncovered numerous mainstream health sites giving advice on the subject. The first one I came to, Healthline, has a page called “Everything You Need to Know About Erotic Asphyxiation”, giving a detailed breakdown with numerous subheadings: Safety; Why people like it; Solo vs. partner; Responsible play; Types and risks; etc., etc.

Readers are left in no doubt as to the risks: “Autoerotic asphyxia has been estimated to cause 250-1000 deaths per year in the United States”, we learn. While “steps can be taken to make it somewhat safer for the curious,” the site continues, “there isn’t a 100% safe way to practice breath play.” Even if you don’t die, you run a significant risk of serious injury, including cardiac arrest and brain damage. But despite sobering information such as this being widely available, a recent research paper has reported a survey of university students in which more than a quarter of the female respondents said they had been choked during their most recent sexual event.

My interest in the topic, and the reason I asked my early twenties friend about it, follows concern raised in parliament and elsewhere last month over sex education in schools. The Times reported that Tory MP  Miriam Cates had raised the alarm (or pressed the moral panic button) over  children being shown dice with body parts written on them, to prompt them to suggest different sex positions. Nothing wrong with that, one might think, but she was also worried over evidence that they were being taught about “rough sex, spanking and choking”, with the implication that dangerous ideas were being put into their heads. A later Times piece disclosed that:

Providers of sex education in schools are teaching children that prostitution is a “rewarding job” and failed to advise a 14-year-old girl having sex with a 16-year-old boy that it was illegal. Outside organisations teaching children about sex also promote “kinks” such as being locked in a cage, flogged, caned, beaten and slapped in the face…

To the conservative mind, sex education is at best a necessary evil. It is seen as a secondary line of defence against early sexual debut once the first line – keeping kids ignorant and “innocent” for as many years as possible – can no longer be held. In order to be effective, this secondary defence, according to traditional thinking, needs to focus on dangers, such as diseases and unwanted pregnancy. Alarmingly, for conservatives, it begins to look in these media reports as though the emphasis in school sex education is shifting from danger to pleasure, from negativity to positivity.

Heretics here have reason to see this as a good thing. Up to a point. Yes, we should applaud sex education that celebrates pleasure; but should we be cheerleaders for genuinely dangerous “kinks”, including choking?

In my view, there is a real issue here that should not be lightly dismissed. Choking, especially, is dangerous for everyone, as noted above, and especially perhaps for kids experimenting incautiously, as horribly demonstrated in the tragic recent death of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee. The inquest last week said a strangulation that caused his fatal brain injury was believed to have been self-inflicted, as a result of his taking part in a social media “blackout challenge”. A newspaper report noted that, “The brain experiencing a lack of oxygen in the ‘blackout challenge’ is similar to that of a cardiac arrest, drowning or choking”.

Better days… Archie Battersbee would grow from this cheerful little chap into a daredevil and all-round athletic tough guy, as is obvious from video clips in which he shows off spectacular gymnastics skill and frankly terrifying boxing and martial arts prowess. What a tragic loss to family, friends and, one imagines, competitive sport.

So, what is going on? How have we suddenly arrived, or so it seems, at a situation in which crazily dangerous activities are being promoted not just on social media (no surprise there) but in formal school sex education lessons, where educators have a legal and moral duty of care?

In other Times coverage, notably an article by Janice Turner, the finger of blame is pointed at the government, for encouraging the outsourcing of sex education to allegedly unaccountable private providers. Named among these were School of Sexuality Education, the Proud Trust, Diversity Role Models, BISH Training,  Just Like Us, and Amaze.

Turner laments that instead of RSE conducted by trained teachers:

…your child may be taught by the School of Sexuality Education which asked kids to Google then draw masturbating animals. Or the Proud Trust, whose dice game asks 13-year-olds to speculate how various body parts and objects will pleasure their anus. Or Diversity Role Models, which promoted the message beloved of paedophiles: “Love has no age limit.”

Well, obviously, if messages are going out that MAPs might like, something is going badly wrong, isn’t it? 😊 She continues:

… many parents have voiced concerns. First at the inappropriately sexualised content of lessons for young children: 11-year-olds asked to work out from a list if they are straight, gay or bisexual; ten-year-olds told to discuss masturbation in pairs. Compelling pre-pubescent children to talk about explicit material with adults transgresses their natural shyness and is a safeguarding red flag.

Natural shyness? That’s a bit rich, isn’t it?  Any parent of a toddler will know they are total strangers to body self-consciousness. They cheerfully go naked until they are taught that covering up and (especially for girls) sexual modesty are a social requirement.

Having now visited the websites linked above, checking out all the About pages and more, I have to say that on the face of it they all seem to be presenting professional, well organised, and responsibly sex-positive offerings.

So, when looked at in detail, the critique being made against current British sex education begins to look a bit thin. Probing further, we see that Turner’s attack is two-pronged. One-prong, as we have seen, takes a stab at outsourced sex education. The other is aimed at a far more familiar target: the “porn culture” into which kids these days are growing up. If this rings bells, there is a reason. Remember the tech future predicted by Zen Thinker in his guest blog  Vorsprung durch online Technik! back in April? ZT notes that adults cannot, even now, control kids’ access to the technology that enables them to express their own sexuality online.

Several reports on “sexting” and so-called “self-generated sexual abuse images” in the last 12 months have backed up this perception with hard figures. With Covid lockdown apparently accelerating the trend, teenage minors and younger kids alike have clearly been up to things big time with smart phones and webcams in their bedrooms. Nor is this just a matter of kids being manipulated by adults, as spun in a recent Guardian story based on an Internet Watch Foundation report. A more detailed report based on interviews in the US with around 2,000 children, revealed that even young kids, aged 9-12, are sexting each other in substantial numbers without adult involvement, many of them perceiving such exchanges to be normal.

ZT celebrates the fact that kids are seizing their own freedom and that adults cannot stop them. He is right to do so, I believe. But I do share at least some of Janice Turner’s alarm that not every possibility thrown up by online tech developments, including the emerging “metaverse”, are necessarily going to be benign, and that market forces should be left to play out, totally unimpeded by any form of regulation.

Back to Archie. Unregulated social media excesses cost him his life. Are we really saying we should just shrug our shoulders, concluding that inevitably shit happens occasionally but in the name of freedom we should just back off?

I am reminded of a precedent from a seemingly long-gone age, when I was young. In the weeks leading up to Guy Fawkes Night even quite young kids had tremendous freedom to buy their own fireworks and set them off almost anywhere they liked, without tiresome adult interference. Inside a cinema, would you believe, I remember, kids at what might have been a matinee show for minors who were letting off bangers in the aisles. I was among them. I would have been about 12. There were even a couple of rockets that were shot up to the high ceiling, pinging off it in spectacular style. It was a recipe for disaster. If the seats had caught fire we might all have been incinerated. But, hey, it was great fun and we got away with it!  So what’s not to like?

For me, the downside was a lesson I took to heart, along with the whole nation, at the age of 24, in 1969. This was a TV documentary revealing that, in those days, fireworks were a hazard resulting in thousands of children being seriously injured every year, suffering terrible burns, or losing an eye. We were regaled with the A&E stats, of course, but the memorable thing, the moment that shifted the dial of the national culture, was the story of a boy of about 10 who’d had his trouser pockets stuffed with fireworks that were accidentally set alight. His entire genitals were burnt off.

Things changed after that. The 5th of November is much tamer now. Bonfires are supervised. Fireworks tend to be confined much  more to organised displays. It is less exciting, less fun. The festive focus at that time of year has largely shifted towards Hallowe’en, a commercial American import, albeit with ancient roots. So, much has been lost. But should we really regret it? On the whole, I think not.

Where, then, does all this leave us on sex education? What should kids be told, if anything, about choking as a sexual practice, or as a “blackout challenge” for that matter?

What is lacking, it seems to me, is any firm sense of principle and direction, which I think needs to come from above, from government. I love the idea of kids winning their freedom, but there is also a role for wise counsel – not for the heavy hand of totalitarian surveillance and control, but for the advice, if not the actual physical presence, of  an “adult in the room”. So, instead of just letting market forces rip, the clear message should be sent out that choking is appallingly dangerous and there is no safe way to do it, so don’t!

Kids should get this message in schools precisely because, as we have seen, the genie is out of the bottle and cannot be put back: youngsters are bound to hear about the “blackout challenge” and similar idiocies whether grown-ups like it or not. The best response is to give firm advice, not to tip toe around by coming out with bogus nonsense about non-existent “safe” choking. If minors, or indeed adults, choose to ignore such advice, that will at least then be their informed decision. There will always be those, such as BASE jumpers and motorbike racers (five killed in 2022 Isle of Mann TT alone!) who are drawn to the excitement of extreme risk. So be it.

The Scout Association faced a comparable conservative backlash when it introduced a ‘trans fun badge’ (above) for members as young as four. Critics said involving children in an “adult political movement” was inappropriate. But showing support for trans-identifying kids is as important to their wellbeing as being well fed. There is a distinction to be made, though, between trans ID, which ought to be fun (i.e. not stigmatised) and trans surgery. Mutilating bodies (cutting off breasts and penises) in order to bring anatomy into line with identity is highly dangerous and often regretted. It is not fun and should not be encouraged.

The other matter of firm principle I would support is the positive encouragement of whatever forms of sexuality are pleasurable and not inherently dangerous. Which is why, decades ago, I endorsed the positive approach to children in pornography taken by psychiatrist and polymath Larry L. Constantine  in his paper, later a book chapter, “The sexual rights of children: implications of a radical perspective”. I threw in a few thoughts of my own on a potential role for an enlightened government to promote best practice by, for instance, creating bursaries for artists working with children in the field of erotica.

Constantine’s ideas, and mine, fell on stony ground at the time but it is fascinating to see that related thoughts are now becoming more viable through another online creative development, the artistic-hitech hybrid that is computer-generated, or virtual, child pornography. One of a number of academics now making a positive case for promoting lolicon and shotacon, as well as child sex dolls, or even robots, is the Norwegian moral philosopher Ole Martin Moen.  More directly related to today’s theme of sex education in schools, though, is a suggestion by Moen that school students should be taught in a different way about sexual attraction to children. In addition to tackling stigma against paedophiles, he and co-author Aksel Braanen Sterri write, “they should be taught what to do in case they themselves are pedophiles. A certain percentage of adolescents either are or will become pedophiles, and currently they are not given any advice on how to handle their sexuality”. Note that Moen is also one of three co-founders of a radical secondary school, the Humanist School in Oslo.

This is the sort of positivity we need more of. While some of the outsourced RSE provision in the UK might be getting things wrong on dangerous practices, in general there can be little doubt they are already doing far more positive work than the average unsupported teacher would ever have dared to tackle in the past. Aided and abetted by technological advances, and with increasing support from academic disciplines such as philosophy, psychology and sociology, the future provision of sex education looks promising  – and I’m not choking!

 

 

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Cyril

a new “paper (that) synthesises and integrates the disparate scholarly literature on the potential and actual perpetrators of child sexual abuse and responses to and prevention of such abuse. It recommends an increased focus on primary prevention within a comprehensive public health approach as a conceptual framework to prevent the occurrence of child sexual abuse. A systems approach is taken to develop the proposed conceptual framework.”

Zen Thinker

Sorry but this seems like a prime example of trolling. Abuse is abhorrent, but I suspect you are abusing, in turn, the goodwill of Tom with this negative posting.

It is of course an obvious assertion that the MAPs on this blog don’t condone abuse of any kind. There is nothing morally uglier than damaging a child, caused by either direct abuse or indeed iatrogenic harms which place an extra stress and burden on the child’s mind.

Indeed, it seems infantile to me, forgive the pun, to think that any decent human being would harm a child. The “actual perpetrators of CSA” are probably mentally deficient in some essential way, have low IQs and no functioning moral framework. That is as good an answer as your paper may reveal.

And for the record, even the “pro-contact” adherents state this as a distant political goal, not a contemporary code of conduct. Of course.

warbling j turpitude

https://quillette.com/2022/02/20/the-transmogrification-of-harvey-weinstein/
it would be wholly remiss of me to not ensure at this point that all of you have read this, weblished by Claire Lehmann and authored by a long-serving clinician at the Massachusetts Treatment Center For Sexually Dangerous Persons

It took an extraordinary Engishwoman, ex-teacher of the deaf, Elizabeth Yeld (combination of yield & gold?) to point out that the clinician’s essay, otherwise hellbent on matters redemptive indeed, omits ANY consideration of actual female responsibility for themselves!

Zen Thinker

Thanks for the clarification. I apologise to Cyril if I overreacted.

Cyril

Thank you, Tom. All I can add is if Zen Thinker does not like the article then let him address his/her outrage to its authors instead of me.

Cyril

a new text on “reporting child abuse”:

  • Adames, Hector Y., et al. “REPORTING CHILD ABUSE AND REASONABLE SUSPICIONS OF CHILD ABUSE.” Succeeding as a Therapist: How to Create a Thriving Practice in a Changing World, American Psychological Association, 2023, pp. 127–34. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv2w8kbvg.24. Accessed 9 Sep. 2022.
Zen Thinker

Has anyone here ever fallen in love with a child? I ask because there’s a girl from Brazil on Instagram, about 6-7 (my ideal age), and I think I’ve fallen hard for her. It sounds ridiculous: I’ve never interacted with her, we don’t even speak the same language, the account is managed by her mum…but she’s stunningly pretty, cute, and incredibly precocious.

I’ve known of her account for about a year.

This is more than just a crush because I’ve developed very tender feelings for her, such that sometimes recollecting her gives me pain and I’m anxious for her wellbeing. The thought of ever being exploitative is the last thing on my mind; if anything I want to add to her joy and happiness in whatever way I can.

If anyone has experienced anything similar, I’d be interested to know.

warbling j turpitude

Well i am curious, ZT. To what extent do you reckon you behold the whole of that girl? To what extent have you simply fallen in love with that glorious imagery of her you see online? What if at home she also packs any amount of squalling wretchedness, perhaps even guile and spite, none if it ever visible to you her far distant romancer? To what extent, iow, is she effectively exploiting YOU?

Zen Thinker

Yes, this is a very wise point actually. I see, as you say, the “glorious imagery”, as she is quite stunningly fashion conscious and carries a cute sophisticated charm for her young years. I can’t say whether behind the scenes she has a negative character, other than being superficially swayed by her apparent sweetness and, of course, beauty. Perhaps I am entirely deluded, and I am indeed being ruthlessly “exploited” by highly orchestrated presentations. I never saw it like that.

Yet MAPs have no choice but to invent imaginary relationships like this, to satisfy an innate longing for fellowship and company. Social media, if anything, isolates further. But at the same time, I would be wrong to say that these Instagram accounts do not have several advantages. It engages the fantasy, and the imagination, and perhaps that’s all I can hope to gain from such an encounter. As a real romantic relationship is obviously illegal, I have to live off scraps and shadows, like a vagrant wandering the virtual halls of social media.

It is a form of exploitation on myself, given she has tens of thousands of followers and a young life full of approbation and glamour, and I’m furtively glancing over her page trying not to press the “follow” button by mistake. I think a certain kind of pretty extrovert female, of any age, welcomes all the attention she can get and feeds off the admiration of others. So this is my fate. The alternative is possibly worse as that involves shutting myself off entirely, and not even getting the surrogate sugar rush of a pretty and charming girl.

I said I developed tender feelings and probably more fool me. It’s impossible to pinpoint her authentic personality beyond the performative aspects and I may well be chasing a mirage. But in some respects I have no choice but to accept a second rate status quo like this, as it’s safe, legal, and at least the imagination can be a powerful force.

Zen Thinker

I studied A Midsummer Night’s Dream in middle school, it was one of our set texts.

Certainly the literature of the early modern period in general is very heavy on love themes, for example the famous sonnet sequences of Sidney and Shakespeare, among others. Crucially, Shakespeare wrote most of his love sonnets to a man at a time when homosexuality was illegal, which should provide inspiration for MAPs and give them some bravery in our own era.

I think romantic love is highly engineered by chemical processes in the mind, yes, and certainly we have all had infatuations. Genuine deep love and tenderness require a close personal connection I think, whereas infatuation often works best at a distance.

With this girl, I just felt a tenderness towards her, because she is a child, and I think with MAPs, romantic affection is mixed in with a paternal feeling too. But it’s difficult to describe little girls in Brazil, they are many years culturally “ahead” of us in the UK. Many are “mini fashionistas”, not in a creepy way like the US toddler beauty pageants, where they look like mannequin dolls and it is cringeworthy. No, in Brazil these little girls are very confident, natural and yet heavily into fashion, beauty and various aesthetics, and keeping track of their photos and reels on Instagram is very addictive I have to say!

I had a bad experience with a young woman many years ago and after that it taught me a valuable lesson: not to try and impose my will on others. I never even click on “like” or “follow” with these little girls’ accounts, I’m entirely invisible. It’s still not socially acceptable as a grown man to make one’s presence known, although I note many grown men do follow little girls’ accounts and this is part of the Instagram landscape. I’m convinced that incredibly high numbers of men find these girls beautiful, like me.

But to return to your point. I don’t think scientists can ever have more meaningful things to say about love than artists and poets, because love is a highly spiritual and soulful quality and science simply can’t capture that dimension of the human experience.

Do I love this 6/7 year old girl? I’d say I’ve been foolishly infatuated by some highly stylised reels, and that you can’t really love someone unless you share an emotional and spiritual bond. But that remains entirely possible with children in a future society.

Last edited 25 days ago by Zen Thinker
warbling j turpitude

I have but one question at this moment, ZT. Who is going to make it all “socially acceptable” if not those very fellows willing to stick their necks out and attempt, to whatever modest degree, to be present on the same scene as that generated by the small girls? Who is going to do it?

We are in now familiar territory here, you and me, one that is methinks eminently exchange-worthy!

I have been in Rio de Janeiro and made sure to wander up countless stairs into the favelas that so precariously and incongruously perch in all their reckless, labyrinthine awfulnness above the splendours of Ipanema. What i might call for the sake of brevity here the ‘filthy little girl energy’ was second-to-none. My head verily spun at every other corner. Thus i am very intrigued to learn of these upwardly mobile *fashionistas* you speak of (who obviously come from more salubrious parts of town) and how you say they differ from the ‘creepy mannequins’ of US junior pageants. Would you care to share a photo or three from your collection? [MODERATOR: For the benefit of LEA friends among our readership, I should explain it is my belief that nothing illegal is referred to here. But for the avoidance of doubt, no sharing of any child photos will be permitted on this site.] I’ll understand if you feel too, well, ‘proprietary’ about it to comply!

Last edited 25 days ago by warbling j turpitude
Zen Thinker

Warbling, I don’t have any “collection”, all that I view legally and safely is on Instagram. Tom wouldn’t let me post very specific instructions about how to set up the desired algorithm for Brazilian little girl accounts. If you want to investigate, you’ll have to work it out on your own. Or give me your email.

I don’t “follow” accounts partly because I worry that if I’m visible, I may be blocked by their mothers.

Your experiences in Rio sound interesting.

Cyril

“The neural circuits of monogamous behavior”:

I don’t know whether it is interesting for you.

Cyril

thank you, Tom, nobody have seen my orthographic mistakes

Strat

This 12-year old WHO document on sex education recently caused controversy on social media:

https://www.bzga-whocc.de/fileadmin/user_upload/BZgA_Standards_English.pdf#page=40&zoom=auto,-253,847

As did what many conservatives now see as the result:

https://twitter.com/buttonslives/status/1566277156581285888

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Dissident

Hi, Tom. A few things.

All advances in technology and education etc will be a mixed bag, and I agree that we need to separate the good from the bad. I agree with your suggestion that guidance rather than authoritarian control is a good “middle ground” between the latter and a total irresponsible free-for-all. In order for guidance to be effective, though, it needs to be value-neutral or young people will not risk seeking it out. Also, any presumed agency comprised entirely of adults to give kids advice overlooks the fact that many adults engage in these “kinks” too, and the “do as I say, not as I do” methodology is well known to be flawed, one of the reasons being that it’s totally hypocritical and based on the false narrative that adults always “know better.”

the future provision of sex education looks promising – and I’m not choking!

Now that one was bad, Tom, but you gave into the temptation to use it anyway 😛

Dissident

You didn’t err at all, Tom. I was laughing hysterically, as you surmised. I was simply being flippant 😛

Warbling J Turpitude

Falls on me then to enquire what “value-neutral” might mean in the context of actually motivating/guiding souls? Dissy is trying to tell us that kids will only “take a risk” on that which appears to have no value attached to it at all? But wouldn’t that in itself amount very clearly to a perceived value? Yo! It’s nihilism, kids, all you can eat!

I have no wish to enrage Dissy, only to engage him.

Dissident

Is that really what you thought I meant by “value-neutral,” Warbling? I’ll assume you did and answer fairly: I meant in terms of non-judgmental. Meaning, do not have a specific moralizing agenda in mind but simply provide objective facts or advice based what is best for the individual querying as opposed to a “one-size-fits-all” assumption solely on the basis of the individual’s age or gender etc.

warbling j turpitude

Okay, got that, thankyou for the clarification. We’re a very long way off such truly individual consideration though, aren’t we? What stands in the way i reckon is the almost entrancing effect that the mention of any age has on people. One says, say, “a 5 year old”, and the entire world automatically assumes some homogenous, identikit unit mass incorporating and dissolving millions of wee souls in a conceptual instant. And that methinks, is where the biggest ass judgement of all kicks right in.

Dissident

Agreed. There is another major reason why younger people can consider it too big a risk to seek guidance if they know that it will not be free of judgment. They would have to fear being penalized and having their freedom obstructed if they show an intention to do, or mention already having done, something those adults do not approve of and have both the power and the intention to stop. Objective advice free of any particular agenda, one that recognizes individual needs and differences rather than presuming everyone of X years of age all have the exact same needs, preferences, and vulnerabilities, must be provided if we can expect these youths to make use of these resources.

Currently, we all know that such objective resources are most certainly not available for youths. Some organizations in the U.S., such as Planned Parenthood, do offer some good resources and advice but they have become compromised by the usual agenda.

Cyril

“Statistically significant differences, via MANOVA tests, were found between the types of uses (of smartphones by schoolchildren) and variables such as gender, school year, hours spent using the mobile phone each day and impact on school performance.”

Zen Thinker

The Democrats are pushing social progressivism hard – the midterms in November, and the balance of power in Congress, will be important. Unfortunately I support very little of this agenda: I don’t like extreme trans ideology, secularisation, Green cultism, high taxes or abortion/euthanasia. The one item I do support, greater sexual rights and education for children, has taken a somewhat lurid turn. As reported by Chris Rufo, a prominent Chicago children’s hospital is offering children’s sex toys such as dildos and vibrators, designed specifically for children, and they have ties to various school boards too. Additionally, in Virginia, a move to ban a children’s book has been dismissed by a judge, which included a child masturbating and “tasting her own vaginal fluids”. Now sexuality doesn’t have to be cheap, lurid or pornified, but this seems to be the direction the Democrats are pushing things. Each passing month child social media seems to get more eroticised too.

And this creates an odd bifurcation in society, as when all these developments are taking place, the child protection lobby is also incredibly strong and this creates an uncomfortable juxtaposition. I was in a shopping centre yesterday and uniformed police were patrolling the toilets lol, I strongly suspect to “protect children”. The IWF revealed recently that self-generated CSAM in the 3-6 age bracket has shot up over the last year or two. The unsustainable tensions between child protection and the extreme progressive social agenda will undoubtedly clash, and this is creating an uncomfortable hyper-vigilant tension already in public spaces and online.

In my opinion, this will foment a social and law enforcement crisis.

Lee

https://easthunter.substack.com/p/does-trauma-scar-us-for-life

This recent article claims that both retrospective and longitudinal studies often show false correlations between trauma and poor mental health. The author favorably mentions Rind’s work but seems to imply that it might still somewhat overstate the negative effects of “CSA” due to its reliance on retrospective studies.

In the second graph (from Danese et al., 2020), there is no correlation whatsoever between having been “sexually victimized” as a child based on court reports and having poor mental health. To quote the article:

“The juicy part is the right side of the figure. See how the O+S and S columns are much higher than “None” or just O! This is the main conclusion of this paper: it is subjective, not objective victimization which predicts poor mental health. People who were victimized based on court records were not necessarily more mentally ill than those who had no court cases and reported no abuse: but those who did report abuse were also no more unhealthy if they had a court case to back this up. This doesn’t quite prove that “child maltreatment doesn’t cause mental illness, it’s just that mentally ill people are more likely to falsely report having been abused“, but it is very much in line with it. A more charitable – but I guess for most clinical psychologists still scandalous – reading of the data is that “most people fully recover from trauma and retrospective maltreatment reports are unreliable”.”

Prue

Wow. I mean, just wow.

I’ve been exposed to these kind of findings for a few years now but it still shocks me. How can people be so confident in their virulent hatred for anything which hints at sympathetic to intergen relationships, when the scholarly literature is so contested and unsupportive of a blanket prohibition, enforced-secrecy-lest-your-older-participant-be-arrested stance? Truly, it’s become ever clearer to me that the issue is one of discourse and self-perception, or, as you wrote: “it is subjective, not objective victimization which predicts poor mental.”

Scholars like Ole Martin Moen have argued that minor-attraction (and attraction in general) is morally nuetral as it is not a matter of choice and in-itself harmless, and that intergen eroticism only poses a risk of harm (not definite harm), but end the discussion on iatrogenic harm: E.g. “even if […] the harms are culturally contingent, this does not make the harms any less real” (Moen, 2015, p. 115; quoted in my review https://wapercyfoundation.org/?page_id=1056).

What this leaves out is examining whether it is morally justifiable to participate in subjecting children to iatrogenic harm: could Moen, or anyone for that matter, justify manipulating/gaslighting young people into over-writing a non-negative self-perception, or even simply perpetuating discourse which, to appropriate Moen’s language, exposes minors to “significant risk” of reconceptualizing their experience and experiencing psychological maladjustment via iatrogenic harm?

I think not. They’d look like monsters… A fuller investigation would entail the admission that many people, simply by sheer ignorance in being uninformed or led aound by cultural osmosis, or too arrogant to accept the possibility of non-negative experiences, are complicit in manipulating, galighting, harming, “children.”

As I have written elsewhere:

“Noting cultural differences, [Chloe] Taylor discusses the famous anthropology of Gilbert Herdt, who studied what he came to call “ritualized insemination” practices between older and younger males among the Sambia tribe of Papua New Guinea. However, she fails to entertain the possibility that, had the Sambia youths grown older surrounded by pressure to “re-conceptualize” their experience as abuse, labelled “victim” or “survivor” against their will, at perennial risk of becoming heretics and social pariahs should they contest their imposed labels, they might instead have acquiesced and internalized dominant expectations of harm, overwriting their initial self-perception and developing or compounding negative psychological responses as a result. If language produces reality, writers like Taylor ought to think far more carefully about the harmful possibilities of their rhetoric.”

Thanks for the post 🙂

Leonerd

it’s become ever clearer to me that the issue is one of discourse and self-perception, or, as you wrote: “it is subjective, not objective victimization which predicts poor mental.”

Of course, People living in a sex-negative environment will reject a neutral and positive narrative about intergen relationships just as much as they would reject and burp exotic food which they are not accustomed to eating, because all their lives everyone around has told them always that it is terrible and traumatic experience only.

A good example: the Children in the nudist community are not considered traumatized. This is just natural and habitual activity for them. However, if an adult undresses in front of an unfamiliar child outside the nudist community, this will cause a completely negative and absurd public reaction.

Last edited 1 month ago by Leonerd
Prue

My go-to is always parents washing their children, but nudism is another great example.

Studies like Vaillancourt-Morel, M. et al., (2016) have compared the mental health of those who differ in abuse perceptions. I helped out a bit with Newgon’s page relating to this [https://www.newgon.net/wiki/Research:_Secondary_Harm], but I’m sure I can update it. Here’s a virtually unknown study where the label “abuse victim” seems wildly inappropriate compared to the findings:

Prevalence and Patterns of Child Sexual Abuse and Victim–Perpetrator Relationship Among Secondary School Students in the Northern Province (South Africa)

S. N. Madu, D.Sc.,1,2 and K. Peltzer, Ph.D.

An investigation into the prevalence and characteristics of child sexual abuse in the Northern Province (South Africa) was conducted. A total of 414 secondary school students in standard 9 and 10 in three representative secondary schools completed a retrospective self-rating questionnaire in a classroom setting. The questionnaire asked about childhood sexual abuse and the victim–perpetrator relationship. Results shows an overall (N = 414) child sexual abuse prevalence rate of 54.2%, 60% for males (N = 193), 53.2% for females (N = 216). Among them, 86.7% were kissed sexually, 60.9% were touched sexually, 28.9% were victims of oral/anal/vaginal intercourse. “Friend” was the highest indicated perpetrator in all patterns of sexual abuse. Many victims (86.7%) perceived themselves as not sexually abused as a child, and many (50.2%) rated their childhood as “very happy.” A call is made for more research, publicity, and campaigns in the area of child sexual abuse in the Province

Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 30, No. 3, 2001 <https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1002704331364&gt;

Christian

Other things dangerous to children are “gender identity development therapies” aimed at accelerating gender transition, in particular puberty-blocking drugs. Puberty is not restricted to the development of secondary sexual features and to the onset of fertility, it also leads to rapid bodily growth and brain development. The drugs used for blocking puberty stunt that growth and development, they have serious secondary effects, and they can lead to irreversible negative consequences on health and body development. The research supporting such treatments is often biased, and there is a backlash by patients or their parents who complain about the damage caused by these interventions:
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/tavistock-gender-clinic-to-be-sued-by-1-000-families-lbsw6k8zd
The topic of transgender identity in pre-pubertal children has been discussed on HTOC in two articles in February 2017. Many agreed that before puberty, a supposed transgender identity can in reality mean an incipient homosexuality or a rejection of traditional gender roles, and it can then disappear after puberty.

Zen Thinker

Of the many HTOC blog posts over the years, this is in my top three. I like the fact that you identify many of the prevailing trends. We can hopefully agree that child mastectomies and castrations are mutilation, and based on a dysphoria that probably has its ultimate solution in talking therapies. You note that erotic asphyxiation, as a major adult sexual trend, is a dangerous and potentially deadly mainstream offshoot of BDSM culture. Taken together, these two cultural trends are far more extreme in my view than the developing reality of the sexual child. It is surprising to me that we find a mutilated child less extreme than a masturbating child.

I noted earlier that the perception as to children’s “partial mental development” has an influence on AoC laws, especially around the mental ability to consent. Let me explain this. I do not believe children are in any way mentally deficient, but I think the authorities frequently bracket children with the learning disabled as unable to fully engage in rational decision making. I do not agree of course – after all, this was once true of women too, and one reason for the disenfranchisement of women until the early twentieth century was a perception that women had emotional brains and were incapable of making a rational decision. Now there are obvious inconsistencies and hypocrisies here, as children as young as two or three can magically decide they are an alternate gender, which strikes me as a cruel confusing influence from adults. On the other hand, a child with a healthy expression of their sexuality is often frowned upon and suppressed – clearly the different treatments in culture of gender and sexuality are a hypocrisy, especially when gender is the more extreme.

You mention the massive jump in self-generated CSAM, with the dubious claim to adult coercion. The cultural logic of “abuse” requires of course that an element of adult sexual intent be present, whereas the evidence seems to suggest this is instead a child’s uncoerced sexual expression. If so, it is not impossible to foresee a change in the law regarding children’s “sexual self-fashioning” shall we say on their phones or webcams, although this risks the entire edifice of the authorities’ select notion of indecency.

Forms of sexuality that are “pleasurable and not inherently dangerous” I agree with, and the blanket notion that children have a traumatic relationship with sexuality is clearly false – although there is seemingly no political will, even distantly on the horizon, to change that narrative. The field of “child erotica” is by its very nature, in the current climate, a subversive notion. However I would point out that in social media short form video there are numerous legal depictions of the erotic child, which don’t cross any obvious lines but are another factor pushing against outdated obscenity laws.

Finally, I note that sex education is a direct reaction to the culture and something of a countervailing force – it seeks to impose order on all the chaotic influences from outside that a child may receive. And there is nothing wrong with that. But at its heart, even liberal sex ed is (maybe counter-intuitively) trying to put on the brakes to child sexual progress, in my opinion. It is fundamentally a containment mission. But conservatives don’t even understand this basic idea, in their attack on the school system.

Perplexed

–“We can hopefully agree that child mastectomies and castrations are mutilation, and based on a dysphoria that probably has its ultimate solution in talking therapies.”

–“Now there are obvious inconsistencies and hypocrisies here, as children as young as two or three can magically decide they are an alternate gender, which strikes me as a cruel confusing influence from adults.”

This demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of trans issues and gender development. Children have developed their sense of gender identity with relation to their society, and instinctively understand the dynamics of gender (even if they don’t have the language capacity to explain it all like a professor). In other words- a kid knows if/how they fit or don’t fit by that time. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/Pages/Gender-Identity-and-Gender-Confusion-In-Children.aspx

Hence, why many trans and nonbinary people remember being young kids- 4-7, and already knowing they’re different that way. Furthermore, I would agree with the premise that not honoring a child’s gender identity and expression constitutes child abuse, and that teachers, schools, neighbors, and parents who do not honor the child so are being abusive and have no business having/being around children. Children are not the property of schools or parents.

–“You mention the massive jump in self-generated CSAM, with the dubious claim to adult coercion.”

It’s not dubious. While we can certainly admit that kids may in many (even most) cases willingly participate- they are often being catfished by (let’s face it, mostly men) posing online as teenage girls, they’re being recorded without their consent, and of course, it’s being distributed without their consent, and some even get trapped whereby they’re blackmailed into recording more, and recruiting other kids.

Granted, much of this is “abusive imagery” isn’t abusive at all and is generated “consensually” by themselves for each other, though the perennial problems of peer pressure, bullying, and yes, abuse/assault from peers still exists- but that’s nothing new. So I won’t pretend that there isn’t a great element of moral panic involved by the public- because there is, and it’s not helpful in the slightest. But let’s not pretend that, mostly due to the way things are set up, that a lot of substantial abuse is occurring. Abuse I think could mostly be fixed by giving kids greater freedom for self-exploration, and also educating them so they can protect themselves and not fall prey to situations and people where they’ll be taken advantage of.

–“If so, it is not impossible to foresee a change in the law regarding children’s “sexual self-fashioning” shall we say on their phones or webcams, although this risks the entire edifice of the authorities’ select notion of indecency.”

Well, you already see this some with “Romeo and Juliet” kind of laws- and some states have watered down the response to underage sexting- except where an adult or older kid who falls outside the 2-3 years allotted by most Romeo and Juliet laws. But it certainly doesn’t “solve” any problems- not the least being that laws and law enforcement rarely, if ever, solve any problems.

–“Forms of sexuality that are “pleasurable and not inherently dangerous” I agree with, and the blanket notion that children have a traumatic relationship with sexuality is clearly false – although there is seemingly no political will, even distantly on the horizon, to change that narrative.”

Which is one of the reasons I find it so perplexing that many pedophiles, pederasts, MAPs, what have you- are so down on feminism (and often women more generally- I’m not saying anyone here has, but it shows strongly in some forums) and down on the queer movement, especially down on trans people. When trans-issues are slowly leading us to the science that kids are not blank slates, they’re not unaware (they’re just uneducated and inexperienced), and that just wholesale putting kids under the thumb of adults, most notably parents, isn’t good for kids. I should think that anything in the direction of children gaining greater autonomy would bode well for your movement’s future.

Certainly, I won’t plead the case that the state is any better- it’s not. The state is shit at raising kids, and uprooting kids from familial connections is an infinitely far worse prospect than even leaving things be. However, even if it’s still screwy- it’s better for there to be sex ed in schools than not. Any problems with the new direction that sex ed is going in more liberal areas will bear themselves out within a decade or so. We already know that the conservative approach to sex education is garbage.

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Zen Thinker

Thanks for your reply. I happen to agree with figures like Tucker Carlson and Matt Walsh on trans children, but disagree with them on child sexuality. I realise this may represent an inherent contradiction as trans children may be a gateway to child sexuality. However, I genuinely believe that culturally imposed gender ideologies blight a child’s future, and chip away at their innate human dignity.

On the other hand, I firmly believe (with Lewis Carroll) that the peak of human beauty is in childhood, and furthermore that child sexuality is a phenomenological fact. There is nothing God created more beautiful than a little girl. And I don’t think the sexual expression of a child mars their human dignity, or no more than in an adult. Rather, I think children have long been suppressed by a false Victorian ideal – where even traditional Christianity recognised the presence of sexuality in childhood. I think our legal codes are bunk and we have conflated two things in our laws: safeguarding children’s vulnerability, and Victorian Puritan values. This will ultimately be corrected and we will find a way to protect children to express their sexuality healthily and with others.

However, I have no particular desire or drive to have interpersonal sexual experiences with children – that is not what motivates me. I believe they are being held back developmentally by a false Puritanism, and I am frankly astonished that these beliefs as to the “immaculate incorruptible child” have persisted so long. It is not even Christianity; it is Gnosticism.

I love children and want the best for them. Hence I can’t see myself supporting trans ideologies, which I believe do irreparable physical and psychological damage. But the world won’t listen to me, because the progress on this front has reached a critical mass already, I believe. But sexuality is natural and inherent to children, beneath the layers of a lingering Victorian repression at least.

Franklin James

I take great issue with the first part of your post here. You claim “In other words- a kid knows if/how they fit or don’t fit by that time. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/Pages/Gender-Identity-and-Gender-Confusion-In-Children.aspx.”

First, note that there is absolutely no scientific work cited by the doctor whose article you link to. The article is sheer opportunism in the shape of a medical “expert’s” friendly advice. There is ever more of this sort of thing: spineless doctors putting up public statements to avoid the wrath of the trans fanatics.

Second, though it may be true that some trans people remember “feeling different that way” by the age of 4-7, certainly not all do, especially during this era of social contagion, and there is surely the possibility of retroactive interpretation of otherness.

The “gender identity and expression” of the young is not the manifestation of something sacred to be honored above all: we are obligated to guide the young in directions appropriate to their sex and personality. Failure to do that is what constitutes neglect; confusing children with the notion that they might be trans at all is worse than irresponsible.

Dissident

This is a single response to some points raised by Perplexed, Zen Thinker, and Franklin James in this thread.

Perplexed: This demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of trans issues and gender development. Children have developed their sense of gender identity with relation to their society, and instinctively understand the dynamics of gender (even if they don’t have the language capacity to explain it all like a professor). In other words- a kid knows if/how they fit or don’t fit by that time.

I concur with this, based on studies I have read of gender dysphoria and actual people with that condition I have been acquainted with. Which is precisely why I concur with Franklin James and real trans activists about social contagion and the trending phenomenon on social media (particularly TikTok) driven by the wokes that control so much of to convince youths who are 13-17 to suddenly decide they are trans and should start taking hormones and surgical alterations of their bodies (including the removal of nipples in some cases) without the prudent medical advice and requirements that actual gender dysphoric kids and adults have been subject to without complaint for decades. Doctors and psychologists insisting on objective medical scrutiny before agreeing to inject and/or carve up healthy bodies are not being driven by politics or bigotry but reasoned medical concern. Insisting that clinicians should have no say whatsoever on a case-by-case basis is what is driven by politics that cares more about promoting an agenda than the actual physical or emotional well-being of these patients.

Which is one of the reasons I find it so perplexing that many pedophiles, pederasts, MAPs, what have you- are so down on feminism (and often women more generally- I’m not saying anyone here has, but it shows strongly in some forums) and down on the queer movement, especially down on trans people.

I’ll keep the answer brief (though I could do an entire guest post on the topic): “Feminism” has been co-opted by woke forces that have used it to perpetuate hatred against not only male sexuality in general, but intergenerational attraction to a huge extent. And the majority of MAPs are male, and liberal opposition to intergen relations has a very strong misandrist component to it. Many older women have also grown angry at men who prefer younger women, so how do you think they tend to react to MAPs? Many MAPs are angry with the queer movement because as a whole they threw MAPs under the bus between the late 1980s and ’90s and adopted an assimilationist agenda in place of their former revolutionary politics to get ahead, and today MAPs have to see them coddled by the liberal establishment while claiming they are still “marginalized”–when MAPs know what it’s like to truly be marginalized in this day and age, unlike most queers who live in modern Western society. As for trans people, I explained up above the problem with liberals being overly accepting of fake trans people helping to push the woke agenda. It’s wrong for MAPs or anyone else to hate women, the queer movement, and trans, and many of us (including me) do not condone it: but this does explain what many from these groups have done to acquire hostility from our group against their movements in a general sense. It’s not perplexing at all really if you study the behavior of these groups towards MAPs.

It’s not dubious. While we can certainly admit that kids may in many (even most) cases willingly participate- they are often being catfished by (let’s face it, mostly men) posing online as teenage girls, they’re being recorded without their consent, and of course, it’s being distributed without their consent, and some even get trapped whereby they’re blackmailed into recording more, and recruiting other kids.

I am sure this has indeed happened, but “often”? This sounds more like genuine concern transformed into overcompensation by fear and dislike of pornography and the sex industry. In the previous decade this manifested as claims that “many” youths were being kidnapped or blackmailed into torture by nefarious individuals profiting from it by making genuine pics of such horrors available on the dreaded “dark web.” I made a guest post about this here a few years back. It also sounds similar to the claims often made two decades ago by some in the MAP community who claimed to have stumbled upon “many” websites where pics of kids being genuinely tortured and covered with cigarette burns or laceration wounds were on display. Your contention here is not as extreme, but I must agree with others that catfishing and blackmail happening “often” is likely dubious unless actual evidence is provided. People involved in the sex industry make almost as good a bogeyman as “petafiles” themselves do when it comes to moral panics or over-concern. And the fact that you made certain to point out your contention that the perps of these allegations are “mostly men” without actual evidence, along with your defense of feminism, makes me frankly wonder if you perhaps harbor a mainstream liberal bias which, as I explained above, tends to have strong misandrist tendencies (and which goes further to explain why you see such a strong backlash against this in the MAP community).

Zen Thinker: I happen to agree with figures like Tucker Carlson and Matt Walsh on trans children, but disagree with them on child sexuality.

Fully agree with you on Tucker and Walsh. I too have a combination of strong agreements and strong disagreements with them both depending on the topic at hand.

Franklin James: we are obligated to guide the young in directions appropriate to their sex and personality.

As noted above, I believe gender dysphoria is a real phenomenon with a biological basis, and this should be considered if a young child displays issues with their gender from an early age. We should not automatically push kids into meeting expectations deemed culturally appropriate for their gender. I speak from experience, because though I’m not trans I nevertheless went though a lot of abuse because I refused to be interested in sports and cars like boys were supposed to be and preferred genre books and writing instead. That, of course, is not as non-masculine as displaying a preference for wearing dresses and makeup, but my point is that not all youths, whether genuinely gender dysphoric or not, are going to be able to meet such strict gender-based social expectations, either as children or as adults. Otherwise, you will note that I am against this decade’s extreme push to accept all youths who claim to be trans or “non-binary” as naturally being so without any degree of medical scrutiny.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dissident
Franklin James

Your discussion optimistically presupposes that public education in this current day and age could possibly get sex education “right,” that a little trimming off the “dangerous” edges of sexual libertinism would demonstrate a respectable prudence. “Now, children, don’t go about choking yourselves or each other during your journey of erotic self-discovery…”

I find this presupposition preposterous.

Technological “advances” show no more evidence of “progress” than do psychology, philosophy, or sociology; in fact, the former has tended to deracinate these latter academic domains, rendering them ever more intellectually vapid and ever more subject to the whims of technological interests. In particular, the trans movement – really a trans-/anti-humanism – is the direct and unholy consequence of the “liberal” sexual philosophies saturating academia and increasingly pervasive in public education down through the youngest years. It is subservient to technological interests, is intellectually bankrupt, and thrives in a chaos of pharmaceutical, surgical, and aesthetic mutilation.

I completely sympathize with the impulse to keep state bureaucracy out of the education of children on matters of sexuality and gender. One need no longer be “conservative” (in the “sex-negative” construal) to understand the logic of this impulse. The “enlightened government” you imagine lies completely outside the scope of every progressive political and social movement.

I’d like to say, “let liberals be liberals, conservatives be conservatives” – be that the naive suggstion it may be. But surely it is preferable to accommodating the gender-queer curricula being foisted upon the young, increasingly without the consent of parents, and even deliberately concealed from them. God save us from a state-sponsored sexual regime whose project is the endless liberation from not only our parents but from our very bodies.

Recommendations against erotic strangulation may have a place in a sexual regime, but only as ratiocinations within the logic of that regime, a regime which should be rejected entirely, for the sake of our humanity.

Franklin James

Thank you for you reply.

I suspect my position on these matters is some combination of too radical and too reactionary to address your comments succinctly! A few thoughts though.

My intent is not to “take a pop” either at state bureaucracy or the institutions to which it outsources (or which co-opt) its malevolence. I believe a much broader recognition of how far the modern state is from providing us with any less oppressive a sexual regime is what we really need, and I worry that your approach is simply too conciliatory, too content with taking a pop.

I also do not think it would take firm state intervention to stop the “outsourcing” of the dirty work; really, it doesn’t matter who’s doing it. What it would (will!) take is a groundswell of resolve from families and communities to resist participation in that work.

For example, concerning the sexting and such that kids these days are up to on the internet, you say: “ZT celebrates the fact that kids are seizing their own freedom and that adults cannot stop them. He is right to do so, I believe.”

Well, I don’t similarly celebrate this “seizure” – I think it more a relinquishing on the part of adults than a “seizure:” an untethering of children from vital and irreplaceable familial and social ties that renders the young even more susceptible to the manipulations of state and/or the powers “outsourced…” But the more immediate fact is that adults *can* stop them, i.e. they need not relinquish. And some do. I know plenty that do. I even recently attended a rather large conference, involving hundreds of adults and children sharing this contention, at which I never saw a single smart phone in a young person’s hands for several days. It was a joy to see the kids, almost entirely strangers to each other, spontaneously engage in and invent outdoor games as families gathered and dusk settled. (If there was sex play going on those few evenings, it was perhaps a grope or two under the bushes – real, in other words, not just more virtual images flashing luridly).

These kids are not engulfed by the tech because their parents don’t let it happen. I can hardly think of a better, more practical first step toward keeping the state at bay than that. (I am referring, by the way, to an event in a very liberal state of the USA, and no, I’m not talking abut the Amish.)

So let’s keep an open mind about the possibilities here.

> [T]here is certainly no guarantee that wise policies will be the outcome of keeping the state at bay, however that is to be brought about.

Of course there’s no such guarantee, but our failure to keep the state at bay is by now such an obviously unwise policy that truly keeping it at bay is the only way we can force ourselves to consider and discover alternatives – and perhaps also to rediscover alternatives, arrangements that existed before the advent of the outsized modern state, its outsized corporate allies, and our outsized faith in technological progress.

What I would “accept, or like to see, or how it might be brought about,” are huge questions in this context. It’s not a matter of policy decisions on the order of “should the state teach this or that about S&M to ten-year-olds?” I’ve no alternative “program,” least of all concerning sex-ed. I can only encourage us toward 1. a deep skepticism of modern promises of endless liberation and freedom, however appealing it may appear to the pederastic dreamer, and 2. an open mind toward a revival of structures and beliefs that modernity, in its seductive promises, strategically demeans as unrealizable, passé, or reactionary.

Franklin James

Thank you – I’d be very interested and delighted to further such a conversation.

Franklin James

Thank you for this extremely interesting and engaging reply. I will put my best efforts into furthering the conversation; it is rapidly turning multifaceted; maybe some for here, some for elsewhere?

So, more very soon, but before signing off I must not, in light of your glorification of the State in our good old USA’s landing on the Moon, forget to remind us of W. H. Auden’s poem written in celebration of that occasion, a poem which is the first and probably the last to use the word

“Mneh!”

Franklin James

Ah yes; I’ve been charmed by deserts too, as would have Auden had he found his way to some of the places that, for example, his room mate Paul Bowles eventually found his way to… Little princes do exist on lunar surfaces.

Dissident

These kids are not engulfed by the tech because their parents don’t let it happen. I can hardly think of a better, more practical first step toward keeping the state at bay than that. (I am referring, by the way, to an event in a very liberal state of the USA, and no, I’m not talking abut the Amish.)

As a youth liberationist, I do not agree that parents should have the power to forcibly prevent kids from doing something, whether we agree or disagree it’s something they should or shouldn’t be doing, nor do I think that parental power is a more benign substitute for state control. Hence, I do not take sides in the “parents vs. state” arguments over which should have greater power over kids. If we can agree that kids should spend less time with technology, then I think there are better and democratic ways to facilitate that, but explaining them would take a much longer post than I’m willing to make here today. I should point out, however, that the proposed solutions would not entail separating kids from their families, and youth liberation is not hostile to the institution of parenthood or family; its agenda is simply to democratize the family unit and allow for the communal family experience to re-assert itself in cases of individual preference.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dissident
Dissident

Sadly, Tom, based on what I have observed, the youth liberation movement did indeed get hijacked by protection groups as you described…not once, but twice. And both times the main culprit (though not the only one) was paranoia and fear related to the pedo panic. The first time it happened, as we all know, was when the lively Ann Arbor-originated youth liberation movement, then firmly connected to the left-wingers, was nullified by the moral panics and general conservative backlash of the 1980’s.

The second time is in recent years when one of the major radical organizations, ASFAR, went under due to various reasons (none of them legal, by the way) and the moderates, who at that point had no official stance on the more emotional issues such as youth sexual rights, suddenly had no strong counterbalance from the radicals. As a result, over the next decade they increasingly succumbed to fear of being accused of being “petafiles” on Twitter and elsewhere on social media, and more and more of them began coming out openly in support of age of consent laws and increasingly distant from supporting any type of youth freedoms that could connect them in any way to youth sexual rights or “pedophilia” accusations. The result was the movement all but going under, and now largely consisting of a hodgepodge of protectionists trying to get their agenda pulled into the youth liberation movement and many moderates feeling they have no choice but to comply. The radicals still exist but are currently left by the wayside as the moderates now predominate and are in the process of morphing into protectionists.

So, what does the movement stand for now? In a nutshell: more rights for youths in some things, but only if they are adolescents and protect them from those evil petafiles and keep those age of consent laws on the books as some of the best protection youths can have.

Will the movement arise a third time? I have no doubt it will, and will do so a fourth and fifth time ad infinitum if necessary, as setbacks are common for all struggling civil rights movements. However, now is not the time for youth liberation to move forward smoothly without obstruction, not as long as the current moral panics and conservatism remains as strong as it is. In order for the youth lib movement to rise again and progress to the point of being resistant to such forces the political climate you remember from the days when organizations like PIE and the Ann Arbor youth liberation crew could prosper and receive a degree of open support from what then constituted the left has to be rekindled. Only next time progressives need to be much more serious about preventing it from being sabotaged by conservative forces, including those that masquerade as being from the left, so that another crippling backlash does not occur. And if one is again attempted (and it will be) the progressive forces need to strongly oppose it rather than simply “go with the flow.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Dissident
Perplexed

As a total aside, is there anywhere where the sex and consent laws or policies that were proposed in the 60s and 70s are still accessible? To see what what proposed?

Perplexed

Prohibition has not, nor ever will, work. I have heard of choking for pleasure since there was a panic about it in the 90s in the schools in our area, and so the adults “had” to talk to us about it (mostly to say don’t do it and you’ll die). People will do things. And I disagree with your premise about it not being safe to practice- anything with skill, practice, and training, can be reasonably, relatively safe. No, you cannot eliminate all risks, that is just life. But most risks can be managed, anticipated, and taken into account. Fact is, people will engage in erotic asphyxiation- whether that means self-asphyxiation, being choked by another, or choking someone else- and it’s best we teach them how to not die while doing it, and help them understand that that risk is always there- much as it is for any extreme activity or sport.

The problem arises when we don’t want to deal with it, and so we do not wind up educating people, and wind up driving it to dark underground corners where people ARE going to get hurt, regularly. This is also how nonconsensual or reluctant encounters happen- how people either get victimized, or wind up nominally “consenting” to something they really ought not to have, or get pressured into it unduely. I am very much in the camp of education, and the avoidance of instilling shame.

And Mr. O’Carroll, you are surprisingly conservative yourself. It makes sense, but at the same time, I can tell you from my own personal experience- kids are kinky, sadistic mofos, whose imaginations can conjure all sorts of frightening, deviant, and extreme ideas that would put adults into full time panic mode. And indeed, we know from psychological study that almost all such things begin in early childhood anyway, or at least manifest that early.

From a more cosmic perspective, humanity is confronting its Jungian shadow. We will learn to embrace and integrate it, or perish. The questions and apprehensions and contradictions of the human soul are, I believe, in the beginning stages of coming to a head.

Perplexed

Oh, pardon, I was speaking more generally. Sorry if that sounded accusatory.

Last edited 1 month ago by Perplexed
Perplexed

That being said, I do find it amusing how, shall we say, vanilla, white toast you are, lol
Very much a man of an older generation if not quite Victorian, haha

Last edited 1 month ago by Perplexed
Zen Thinker

Haha, Tom is not necessarily conservative, he just takes a responsible perspective in this article, and I’m proud of him for it.

Franklin James

Whaddaya mean? Prohibition works all the time! We live and thrive in worlds of prohibitions. We even enjoy most of them! Smoking is prohibited in my library. If it weren’t I’d probably be smoking right now. It’s a very effective prohibition. Smoking was prohibited in my high school. Did that prohibition stop it? No, but it reduced it, and it certainly added something to the value of the stinking boys’ bathrooms, to some at least…

All “prohibit” means is “don’t do that. We’re not going to help you do that. We are not going to participate in that.”

“Prohibition” always seems to turn out as a policy doomed to self-fulfilling failure exclusively in the worlds of alcohol, drugs, and sex. But losing battles are not unjust.

(I can’t bear to imagine a world in which self-asphyxiation is a phenomenon the State would have anything to say about at all. The utter alienation necessary for that – the sheer self-asphyxiation it inspires…)

Last edited 1 month ago by Franklin James
Zen Thinker

I agree it’s important to tread a careful moral line, and I commend you for raising these ethical concerns. I don’t quite believe in letting market forces rip, leading children to potentially dangerous outcomes. You’re right of course about the failure of the primary line of defence, ignorance; I particularly enjoyed the lucidity of this explanation. Now that schools must teach ever more explicit sex ed to combat the culture, I saw in my guest blog an inevitable movement towards the sexual liberalisation of childhood. You’re right of course that an appropriate ethics of this emerging phenomenon must be negotiated. I can’t say where this will lead, legally, culturally, or in the overall psychology of childhood, but my guess is that a new generation will grow up to see MAPs in a different light, which will spark a fundamental generational change.

Perplexed

Well, therein is the real problem- market forces. Commodification. A capitalist society is a cruel thing, and crueler when it gets ahold of sex and children. It places undue pressure and takes exploitative advantage. As long as profit motive is involved, that’s going to cause all sorts of complications, uncessary and evil, imo, complications.

That being said- we MUST talk about it, and we MUST come to grips with it- the darker side of ourselves. Which does not exist in the realm and purview of adults, but exists in small children as well- the darkness and the light both exist within human beings from birth, and both are integral to our wholeness as human beings.

I think it will eventually be likely that some system of not just book learning on sex, but sexual mentorship, is eventually going to arise out of this. Or at least, could- and likely will in more liberal areas. Which will mortify conservatives, who will have all their “groomer” rhetoric all but proven correct by it all…

Zen Thinker

You talk about the light and the dark side of humanity. I wonder, is sexuality necessarily a dark side? For example, the sacredness of the marriage bond has been emphasised throughout history. Now, we live in very different circumstances, where casual sex is the norm, and our extremely permissive culture, through music, TV and other media forms, is obviously impacting on children. But I foresee a future where children are brought to a large extent into a nominally adult sphere, as Aldous Huxley predicted in Brave New World: a kind of innocent sex play, as we see even now in some social media short form video. Yes, even now children are pushing the boundaries of their traditional role and I see a great emancipation in the works.

I believe the “primitive” or “proto” child sexuality is a beautiful thing, because their form is so beautiful, and they imbue a genuine quality and innocence to their self-fashioning. I don’t think sexuality is necessarily a “darker side of ourselves”, that is more the negative emotions, such as envy and anger and strife. I think sexuality is fundamentally an innocent impulse and of course universal – it can become debased only when it is not carefully regulated by the supremacy of reason, as an overriding and fundamental function.

Perplexed

The darkness is nothing more than that which we feel ashamed of, and relegate to the dark corners of our mind, and banish from polite society, even though they’re still there and, indeed, make polite society possible. The darkness isn’t innately bad or evil anymore than the night is bad or evil. Indeed, it’s just an existential, and necessary part of the human experience. The darkness is just the parts of ourselves we decide we don’t like and have apprehensions about.

I personally don’t believe children’s feelings are ‘immature’ or ‘innocent’- they’re just lacking the education, framework, and context whereby to verbalize and express it. The gravity of “adult” feelings is only from the social framework whereby we *expect* things like commitment. Puberty doesn’t make feelings or sexuality *more* serious- it is our expectation that people pair off, date, and otherwise form committed romantic relationships that does that. The only thing children and adolescents have that’s different is the relativity of time.

Children and adolescents desire long term, serious relationships beyond that of their family as well (anyone who denies this is an utter fool and a liar, and does a great disservice and wounding to the hearts of many a child)- just that their frame of reference for “long term” and “long time” are shorter than adults, on account of having been alive for less time. That doesn’t make the bonds and relationships they have any less real, any less deep, or any less meaningful than those of adults. Indeed, it is a great injustice in the world the extent to which we trivialize the feelings and experiences of children, believing them to be more easily healed from and more lightly broken. Utter garbage- indeed, it is childhood experiences which everyone spends the rest of their life healing from.

I wished with lived in a world that didn’t trivialize children’s lives, and placed them on equal gravity and consideration as everybody else. Boo to all the misopeds who would banish children from their child-free, unattached lives. I actually have a great deal of contempt for people who “don’t like children”. I can understand not being good with kids and not being comfortable with them- but you don’t deserve to have a child free world just because you’re uncomfortable with them being in public; because that whiny 5 year old at the table across the way ruined your nice meal out.

Ranting about misopedic adults aside, I do agree that sexuality is, at its core an “innocent” impulse. But I also see an intrinsic link between sex and violence, and it’s one hell of a complicated relationship. And certainly that is a darker aspect that we have to confront and deal with, integrate into ourselves, before progress is made. And the violent/kinky aspect of sex is not just something that exists in adults, as I’ve already said. It is, I know from my own experience, very much alive in young children as well. It scares society and it scares adults to contemplate that, and we’d much rather deny that, but we do that to our detriment.

Add on top of it any kinkiness or roughness that does and would find its way into relations between adults and minors, and older minors and younger minors- that also poses a great apprehension for society in any attempt to “normalize” pedophilia or pederasty- indeed, is the primary reason for society being against it. Which I get, and which perplexes me: the relation between sex and violence.

Zen Thinker

Yes, sex and violence is a massive perennial problem, and I suspect, the primary reason for ages of consent in the first place.

Women are physically weaker and can barely defend themselves against male aggression as it is. This is multiplied with children.

Also, ideas around the purity of children follow an old trajectory around the purity of the woman (two types of woman, Madonna and Magdalena). Women were expected to conform to a bodily purity. The same is now true of children.

Leonerd

Yes, sex and violence is a massive perennial problem, and I suspect, the primary reason for ages of consent in the first place.

The feminists started talk about it later. The original reason for raising the AoC (in UK / US) was child prostitution. The rest of the countries were in no hurry to inherit these laws (up to the current decades) until the globalist pressure of the US and UK became totally. Under the influence of the “fem-partisans”, the AoC was raised in the Netherlands and Spain. They also use anti-propaganda against China by criticizing their AoC 14.

Last edited 1 month ago by Leonerd
Zen Thinker

Indeed, I agree that the moral panic around child prostitution was the historic reason for the turnaround in the nineteenth century.

However, more anthropologically speaking, and looking at the broad history of civilisations, it’s probably true that the physical weakness of children and their “partial mental development” (if one can put it like that) is the underlying reason for child sexual interactions being an abnormal phenomenon, and a policed and protected factor.

However I do believe, that if the conditions/technology/social factors existed for children to safely negotiate their innate and indelible (though highly suppressed and discouraged) sexuality, then it is something that should be considered to make allowable, legally and culturally.

PATRICK

I’m usually a fan of the daily Sceptic Website hosted in part by Toby Young from the Free Speech Union. As always, when the subject of minor attraction comes up, this is where I always end up parting company even if, for obvious self preservation I don’t admit it.
This article come up that I was reading on holiday (vaccine and test free) on the Black Sea.
https://dailysceptic.org/2022/08/14/why-did-so-many-professors-leap-to-the-defence-of-an-academic-who-wrote-a-paper-about-masturbating-to-pornography/

Perplexed

People can bitch and moan about it all they want, but if people are actually serious about “preventing child sexual abuse” (they’re not)- then that’s the sort of thing that has to be studied and talked about. We already know (pseudo-scientific interest groups notwithstanding), that violence in media & games correlates to less violence in society, and that legalized porn correlates to lower levels of sexual violence. And those in denial about sexuality are going to have to decide whether they’d rather a pedophile be whacking off to a cartoon, or be involved with a real life kid. They think they can say no to both, but science is going to bear out that they cannot.

Leonerd

Yeah right. The free sale of BDSM stuffs did not lead to kidnapping and cruel beating people with whips and chaining them in the basement. And I’m sure that there were no problems when AoC was 12 in Netherlands and Spain.

PATRICK

Yup….Milton Diamond study of porn in Japan and parts of Europe, I recall.

Cyril

there was a Soviet serial killer working as a teacher, he would offer boys to check how manly they were and subject them to choking so that some boys died: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatoly_Slivko?wprov=sfla1

Melorder

We have a similar person, Liebe Attila in Hungary, using “Stanislavski’s system” as an excuse to choke his actors (mainly younger girls) or made them choke each other via webcam (preliminary exam). He “only” killed one 15 years old girl though.

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