Last night when the lad came home, he hoisted himself onto the kitchen counter and said, “Let’s talk.”
“Should I put on a pot of coffee?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said. “There’s a lot going on.”
He watched me as I rinsed out the coffee pot and began to measure out the scoops of coffee.
“What’s chlamydia?” he asked.
With my coffee scoop suspended in mid-air, I turned and looked at him. “This is an academic question, right?”
“Geez yes,” he said. “There’s an outbreak of it in the freshman class. A few of the girls were talking about it.”
I explained that chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection that both males and females can get. It’s transmitted by sexual intercourse and oral sex. It’s not something that one catches from a sneeze or a cough.
“So,” he said, “There’s no way to get it from a toilet seat.”
“Not unless someone was doing something really kinky with the toilet seat,” I said. “What made you ask that?”
“One of the girls said she got it from a toilet seat.”
Well, I told him, plainly she knows better. It might make her feel better to say that’s how she got it, but her options were pretty limited to sexual activity. But what on earth would cause a girl to tell all and sundry that she had it in the first place? Little did I know.
And how old was this young lady? Try fourteen. And how many compose an outbreak? At least eight or nine girls who are talking about it.
“Did you know that there are four seniors who are pregnant?” he asked.
“Hasn’t anyone ever heard of condoms?” I asked.
“Probably not so much,” he said, “and besides, if they don’t do it, they’re not really having sex. Except for the older ones who got pregnant.”
“Meaning?” I asked.
“Let’s put it this way,” he said, “there are a bunch of freshman girls who have lists. They call them Rape Lists. They have a list of guys on them that they want to give beejays to. It’s like a competition. The more they can cross off the list, the hotter they are.”
And while that was sinking into my brain, he said, “I’m on a couple of those lists.”
“Oh, buddy,” I said. “That’s not good, is it?”
“What happens when they don’t cross you off their list?”
“I go on their Death List,” he said.
“What does that mean?!”
“I’m dead to them. I’m a nerd. It’s a pressure thing. A lot of guys don’t want everyone to think they’re a sexual nerd.”
“And you?” I asked.
“I don’t really care about that,” he said. “And I wouldn’t go near a fourteen year old, anyway. But it’s insulting. I’m not just a dick with a name on it.”
And a moment later…
“Ewww,” he said with a shudder, “They’re going around talking about having chlamydia and think any sane guy would want them to touch him? How disgusting is that?”
I gave him lots of hugs and sat down with him again after he got into bed. I told him that his thinking is absolutely right. For one hundred percent sure.
Over the years we have talked a lot about sex and relationships and self respect and sex-related health. For one thing, I’ve told him, be absolutely clear that whenever he decides to have sex with someone he is also having sex with everyone that person has ever been with. Unless he knows his partner really, really, really well and for a good while, think very carefully about either having sex or unprotected sex. I think I’ve permanently seared into his brain that having sex without a condom until he is in a very long term relationship is just as immoral and stupid as about the lowest thing he can think of. One just doesn’t do it without protection. The risks are too high and he’s worth too much to take stupid risks. Not ever. Not even once. Ever.
And, I’ve pointed out that when one has sex, one is leaving a part of himself behind with that person. Promiscuous sex ends up being a soul draining enterprise. When he’s ready, he’ll know it. Not because of raging hormones, but because it means something and it’s a piece of himself that he won’t miss giving away because it’ll still be a part of him. That’s the way long term relationships work. I’ve never said that he couldn’t or shouldn’t or I’d be mad if he did have sex. It’s his choice when. And you know, it seems to have worked pretty well so far. He’s still waiting for that special girl. It’s not a sport, it’s not a notch in the belt to brag about. And you bet I’m going to take a lot of credit for that.
That makes me really wonder what is going on with these girls who apparently value themselves and their well-being so little that they think it’s cool to have the appallingly named Rape Lists. As if it’s the sporting event of the season. And that they value the boys on their lists so little as human beings. That’s disturbing. And even more disburbing, they’ve already contracted a sexually transmitted infection, yet it doesn’t seem to phase them. In fact, they openly talk about it while tending their lists. What is that all about? Why? Maybe I’m naive in thinking it’s not so much about hormones as that perhaps no one has taken the time to teach them to value themselves first. Or talk to them and teach them about sex and what it means along with the the risks and responsibilities involved.
I’m not so easily surprised anymore, but this story left me stunned to the roots. All I can think to ask is why?
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