The Two Most Popular American Attitudes Towards Sex?

Popular American culture seems to be dominated by two contrasting attitudes towards human sexuality.

On the one hand, you have the attitude that manifests itself in the stupid sexualization of youth.

It must seem to any neutral observer that America’s media, with surprisingly few exceptions,  is absolutely obsessed with sexualizing ever younger and younger children.  What else can you make of such nonsense as thongs and fishnet stockings made for preteens?  Yet, the science is in on this absurd practice: Studies show that such sexualization has numerous negative consequences and few or no benefits.  So what is the attitude — the thinking, as it were — of the people who perpetrate this blunder?

I believe what underlies the sexualization of youth is pretty murky, rather than clear cut.  Surely, some people are promoting sexualization in order to exploit kids for financial and business gain.  But what attitude or thought process encourages the mother who puts her eight year old daughter in fishnets?   That mother cannot be said to be doing it for financial or business gain.  But if not, then what is she thinking?  That puzzles me.

On the other hand, in American culture you have the attitude that manifests itself in the equally stupid abstinence only sex education movement.

I think the attitude that underlies abstinence only sex education is more clear cut than the attitudes that underlie the sexualization of youth.  That’s to say, underlying abstinence only sex education is a peculiar blind and obstinate prudishness.   There may be other attitudes mixed in with that one, but I will wager that prudishness is predominant.

Abstinence only sex education is only the sharp tip of that prudishness.  The same prudishness also manifests itself in a pervasive fearfulness towards sex that at times is indistinguishable from wretched hysteria.  That astonishing fearfulness is often accompanied by ignorance,  unrealistic expectations, squeamishness, and even outright rejection of ones sexuality.  We often make fun of prudishness in this country, but it is perhaps equally possible to think of it as crippling.

Both of these popular American attitudes towards sexuality — both the attitudes that manifest as the sexualization of youth and the attitude that manifests as abstinence only sex education (among other things) — are dysfunctional. 

In my opinion, Americans could not have picked two attitudes towards sex more stupid than those two.  Indeed, the fact those two ideas are the predominant ideas about sex in American popular culture severely argues against the notion that our country is, or has ever been, blessed by a deity.

Anyway, that’s how I see it.  So what have I overlooked here?

6 thoughts on “The Two Most Popular American Attitudes Towards Sex?

  1. I remember when I was in elementary school I used to go to my pal Sheila’s at lunch time and we’d tart ourselves up like clowns with her make-up and go back to school. I wasn’t much older when I got my first pair of high heels – magical adult things. I remember these experiences and other similar ones as a pressing eagerness to grow up and have all the trappings of teenagers. Basically, I begged for those high heels, and I fought to wear make-up and get my ears pierced. I wouldn’t hold my poor mother accountable for giving in a little once in a while. How would she explain it was OK for her to wear heels and make-up but not me? I was basically playing dress-up in big people clothes. In order to explain why I couldn’t wear make-up, she would have had to introduce the concept of post-pubescent finding me “sexy” – kind of out of place under the circumstances.

    Anyway, I suppose the point I’m making is that I think it’s often the girls doing the choosing of that kind of gear, and they’ll pick whatever the teenagers and pop stars are wearing. I don’t blame mums entirely for letting girls wear fishnets. Anyone who finds fishnets on an 8 year old “sexy” needs professional help.

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  2. 1. Minorities in pornography:
    ========================================
    @Attic put is nicely but to put it more in tune with non-theism I will further expound. Accept humans “evolve” both physically an intellectually and puberty therefore begins sooner. The age of survivable procreation is reduced and therefore the smaller pelvis is more manageable.

    The preteen girl of today might be both more physically and mentally prepared to procreate. This is a fact comparing people only a few centuries ago to people of today. In countries ascribing to the Allah creator the minimum age of marriage is early-to-mid teen already. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jFuaD3fLpJLZE3qob6VoJIXUqbJQD9F07VB80
    “A 13-year-old Yemeni child bride who bled to death shortly after marriage was tied down and forced to have sex by her husband.”

    The age of marriage in western society is going against this trend.
    Estimated Median Age at First Marriage, by Sex: 1890 to 2003:
    http://marriage.about.com/od/statistics/a/medianage.htm
    Despite this; In Missouri, Texas and Wyoming there is no minimum age although for those only 14 in NY they must get permission from a Judge.

    In western Cultures, marriage ages are increasing. This would be expected due to intellectual increases. women are getting smarter and avoiding the contractual obligation.

    Girls today are early to realize that men are driven by three things primarily. 1. Hunger 2. Thirst 3. Sex

    What girls do not realize is that men have a better chance to have sex with a female they are able to convince to “put-out”. A thirteen year old girl might be sufficiently developed to appeal to an older man. http://www.curtisneeley.com/Polanski/index.htm

    Polanski was sure to ask if Samantha was taking birth control. After discovering that she wasn’t, Polanski inseminated Samantha’s anus during allegedly non-consensual sex.

    Polanski was able to trick Samantha into “putting-out” although the alcohol and Quaalude drugs may have helped. Ms Geimer started off believing she might be in one magazine that first confused sexuality and fashion. (Vogue)

    Polanski took nude photos of Samantha and Samantha was not physically forced to have them made or to have sex. The director took advantage of the girl who was already flexing her budding sexual wings. She came to the photo shoot without a brazier according to the 1977 testimony. She knew before coming that Polanski would try to get her naked as he had previously done topless photos.

    The Supreme Court will take up the banning of “violent” video games this session for minors. It violates the “kids” rights to due process because a kid may simply go out of State to avoid the law. Jurisdictional standards for video games will probably not be allowed since they were not allowed for Child Online Pornography Act. There is obviously room for Jurisprudence as the minimum age to marry varies State to State and is therefore subject to jurisdiction.

    “Violent” video games could be used on sophisticated phones and the Supreme Court has a precedence favoring violence and pornography communicated to minors. The SC alleges that it only delays the choices for a few years.
    ———————————————
    Men have a natural sex drive and girls are developing younger. Girls realize they have “power” over men before they learn to use it or even effectively control it.
    Men realize it is easier to trick a kid into “Putting-Out” and especially the budding beauties.
    Natural progression – – NATURALLY
    —————————————
    2. Abstinence only sex education.
    ================================================
    Women/girls in western culture above age more before marriages. The religious rules prohibiting sex before marriage require #2. It is no more logical to expect theists rules about marriage to make sense as it is to make sense out of their illogical theism or belief in God/Allah.
    For those willing to blindly accept a jealous, loving and forgiving God/Allah character, it is a tiny step to then accept the moronically inspired illogical concept of abstinence. Compare this to playing football.
    First you accept NCAA rules for whatever reason you invent. You now have obligated yourself to requiring advancement of the ball three and a third yards per-play on-average or loosing the right to be offense after four tries.

    Attitudes in #1 are non-theistic and logical. Attitudes in #2 are motivated by illogical religions and are therefore illogical.

    Eventually humans will “evolve” into asexual beings where “cloning” the best of the best will be the only method used for procreation. A female will no longer appeal or be needed although pubescent ovaries will be harvested for eggs for centuries.

    Non-theist do not have souls anymore than a fetus.

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  3. To dress up, to wear make-up and high heel shoes in order to look like your mother is probably a habit as old as the world. Plus women had knew it, for centuries now, that their sexuality gives them control over men and the world. Mothers just want their children to “fit in”( the classic social roles) – the first thing that came into my mind was the “sexualization” of young daughters in Tolstoy’s Kreutzer sonata. Of course those were marriage age girls, but the”education” must have started at an earlier age. It is peer pressure.
    The problem is that young girls are more exposed nowadays to predatory men and also, they do lack the education needed to protect them. This brings me to the second issue: the lack of sex ed in schools. I do not consider the abstinence approach to be proper education, just hypocrisy –unless one goes to a Christian school. I just had a small talk with my teenage son last night and what he got from it was that his body is going through some unnatural process – instead of explaining him why, what and how to deal with it. Which results in guilt and potential rebellion… Again, the parents who pushed for this absurdity did it as a result of social (peer) pressure.
    Why are Americans exhibiting such a contradictory behavior? I can only speculate here, and I do not think I am in the best position to do it. But, there is one interesting thing I learned as part of my social marketing project – people’s habits with respect to socially significant activities such as energy consumption , recycling or AIDS are changed only from within the community , by reasoning with the most representative members of the community and getting their active support instead of trying to reason with each individual …

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  4. I am European. On “The Two Most Popular American Attitudes Towards Sex?”. I am puzzled about what seems a paradox between the “liberal” spirit of American media (including Hollywood movies) and the conservatism I find in everyday social news from the states and also the conservative jurisprudence of many American states. My question is: to what extent is the American society is religious/theistic? Why the progress of science and technology did not bring more liberalism? More social freedom-tolerance? Thank you for your feedback.

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  5. Hello, Mind S.! Welcome to the blog!

    I am far from being an historian or scholar of American sexual attitudes. I have sometimes posted my opinions, but mainly to be thought-provoking and start a conversation, than to be authoritative. That said, let me see if I can help you with what little I do know about the matter.

    “To what extent is the American society is religious/theistic?”

    We seem to be more religious than most Western European nations these days. About 85$ of Americans identify themselves as Christians. Most of the rest are still theists. Only a small percentage of Americans are non-theists and/or non-religious.

    America has a secular government, but is not a secular country. It is instead a religious country wrapped inside a secular government.

    Next, I believe a very large number of Americans are hypocrites when it comes to sex, Mind S. They are liberals when it comes to what they themselves do, but they are conservatives when it comes to what they want others to do.

    I recall a man here in town who wrote a conservative column for the local newspaper. One day, he wrote a column saying that pornography should be completely banned in America. The very next week, I was talking with his best friend and I discovered that the columnist had an extremely large collection of pornographic movies which he very much enjoyed watching.

    In my time, I have seen more or less the same thing again and again. Many Americans are hypocrites about sex. Liberal in private, conservative in public.

    “Why the progress of science and technology did not bring more liberalism?”

    The Religious Right.

    The Religious Right in America is a large, very powerful political movement of religious, social, and political reactionaries who have either slowed, stopped, or in some cases rolled back liberal progress in America. They, I think, are the main reason the country is not more liberal than it is in sexual matters.

    I’m not sure how useful my comments are to you. But I hope they have helped.

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